Pollard pays tribute to his pack of forwards after they pummelled the Lions into submission

The Vodacom Bulls captain Handre Pollard powers away from a challenge from Elton Jantjies of the Lions during a Super Rugby match at the Emirates Airline Park in Johannesburg on March 2 2019.
The Vodacom Bulls captain Handre Pollard powers away from a challenge from Elton Jantjies of the Lions during a Super Rugby match at the Emirates Airline Park in Johannesburg on March 2 2019.
Image: Anton Geyser

Bulls captain Handre Pollard paid tribute to the contribution of his pack of forwards after they pummelled the Lions into submission at Ellis Park.

The Bulls won their one-sided Super Rugby derby 30-12 to condemn the Lions to their second consecutive defeat.

“Our pack‚” said Pollard succinctly when asked why there was such a gulf in class between the sides.

“Definitely. No doubt about it. The guys who started‚ as well as the guys who came on. Usually we are in the game for 50‚ 60 minutes and then our wheels fall off.”

Pollard helped himself to a haul of 20 points with six penalties and a conversion. He only had one blemish off the kicking tee.

“It’s good but it’s my job‚ it is what I have to do‚” said the Bok flyhalf about his goal-kicking.

“It is what my team expects me to do. Going into a World Cup we know how important that is. I have to keep it up.

"It is a funny game because it can go south pretty quickly. You have to keep working hard. The pack gives us those opportunities and I get all the praise for the kicks.”

Coach Pote Human called Pollard’s performance unreal.

“Just his calmness and his kicking too‚” gushed Human.

Human also pointed to the graft of the pack in securing the win.

“Everything starts with the pack‚” he said knowingly before singling out the effort of lock Eli Snyman.

“I want the guys to enjoy their rugby‚” he said about the dexterity of his forwards.

“All our forwards enjoy running with the ball and handling the ball. It is fun for them and if they have fun they will do well.

“It feels awesome but I have to complement my players and the management team. We worked really hard since that loss against the Jaguares.”

There was none of the fatigue many observers felt the Bulls would suffer after travelling back from Buenos Aires.

“The guys are very fit. I know some of them are very old‚” he said in a pointed reference to 37-year-old hooker Schalk Brits.

Apart from winning the arm wrestle up front the Bulls displayed greater clarity of thought. They won the tactical battle too as they applied the heat on the Lions under the high ball.

“Cornal (Hendricks) was exceptional as well as the hang time Polly (Pollard) put on the ball was great. It is great for us‚” said Human.

Pollard believes the win will imbue the Bulls with more belief.

“It is massive. We spoke about this before the start of the season. Lately we’ve been struggling to get off to a good start. A good start isn’t just about the first game but the first four or five.

"This is great for us but we have to back this up next week. If we can go three out of four and then go into the bye‚ rest up and hit those next four games we should be in a good spot.”

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