Rugby – Pollard hops back across ocean to rejoin Bulls
6 June, 2019, 5:21 am
PRETORIA (Reuters) – Springbok flyhalf Handre Pollard rejoined the Bulls in New Zealand on Tuesday ahead of their Super Rugby meeting with the Otago Highlanders in Dunedin on Friday.
The game is the last of a four-match tour through Australia and New Zealand. Pollard went home following the first — a much-needed win over the Melbourne Reds — after suffering a calf injury in training.
He missed the subsequent defeat by the ACT Brumbies in Canberra and last Friday’s draw with the Auckland Blues, which revived the Bulls’ hope of a playoff place.
Coach Pote Human called Pollard the best stand-off in world rugby and will be counting on his return to give the side a lift amid injury woes.
The Bulls have already lost Duane Vermuelen, who went back to South Africa after the first two matches of the trip in terms of an agreement with SA Rugby to rest him with the World Cup in Japan approaching.
Both Rosko Specman and Paul Schoeman have been ruled out, while there is also concern about Warrick Gelant’s availability for the match.
Specman sustained a hamstring strain and Schoeman suffered a knee injury in the 22-22 draw last weekend in Auckland.
Both players have returned to South Africa. Fullback Gelant has a hamstring strain, and his availability will be confirmed this week.
The Bulls are third in Super Rugby’s South African Conference, seven points off leaders Jaguares, with two matches left in their regular season programme.
Their New Zealand hosts are also still in the running for a wildcard place in the playoffs.