Pollard playing way too deep - Mallett
Cape Town - Former Springbok coach Nick Mallett says Bulls flyhalf Handre Pollard should position himself closer to the gainline to give his team go-forward momentum.
Pollard has struggled for consistent form in 2017 after missing the entire 2016 season due to injuries.
The Bulls are also up against it, having lost four of their first five games in this year’s Super Rugby campaign.
There was an improved performance against the Chiefs in Hamilton at the weekend, but the men from Pretoria ran out of puff in the final quarter to go down 28-12.
“Handre Pollard is taking the ball way too deep off front-foot ball. As the playmaker, he has to be right on the gainline to take it forward,” Mallett said in the SuperSport studio while analysing the Bulls’ performance.
“And the forwards take the ball deep as well, so they are giving the defence space to close them down behind the advantage line. If you want forward momentum, you’ve got to take it flat to take up the space you’ve won to force the opposition defence to move backwards.”
The Bulls surprised their critics when they led 9-3 at half-time, and when the Chiefs led by only one point (13-12) heading into the final quarter, an upset was on the cards.
“The Bulls’ tactics in the first half were outstanding. They turned the Chiefs around with little grubbers, they put kicks back, but then isolated the fullback so he couldn’t counter-attack, their speed off the line in defence was really good and they weren’t committing too many players at the breakdown,” Mallett noted.
“But they played without the ball in the second half, and that was a problem because you can’t defend for 80 minutes. Their inability to score tries is also causing them trouble. The Bulls haven’t solved their scrummaging problems and until they do, they can never really control the game.”