Bulls confirm Pollard’s gone but gain a surprising replacement

Handre Pollard  during the Super Rugby match between Vodacom Bulls and Reds at Loftus Versfeld on April 13, 2019 in Pretoria, South Africa. (Photo by Lee Warren/Gallo Images)

Handre Pollard during the Super Rugby match between Vodacom Bulls and Reds at Loftus Versfeld on April 13, 2019 in Pretoria, South Africa. (Photo by Lee Warren/Gallo Images)

One can expect this move to divide opinion…

The Bulls continue to be stripped bare of their biggest names with the confirmation that influential Springbok flyhalf Handre Pollard is off to France.

Montpellier told AFP on Monday evening that the 25-year-old pivot had agreed terms “in principle”, a deal subsequently confirmed by Blue Bulls Company chief Alfons Meyer on Tuesday.

“It’s one of those things. We tried everything to keep Handre here,” he told Netwerk24.

“But we simply can’t compete with this exchange rate.”

It’s been reported that Pollard’s remuneration package amounts to R20 million per season, making him one of the best paid players on the planet.

Yet the plot thickens with the announcement that a favourite son at Loftus is returning to fill the void.

34-year-old Morne Steyn, who’s been playing under former Bok coach Heyneke Meyer at Stade Francais, will conclude his playing career in Pretoria.

Morne Steyn, who plays for Stade Francais, is one of several Boks in the firing line due to a merger of his French club with Racing. Photo: David Rogers/Getty Images.

Meyer emphasised that the move is designed to develop the raw but highly promising Manie Libbok, who is currently Pollard’s understudy.

Steyn played 66 Tests for the Boks and scored 736 points.

“Morne is hugely experienced and could be an excellent mentor for Manie,” he said.

“(National coach) Rassie Erasmus has given us his blessing. He also believes that Morne will be a good buy.”

The Bulls are also losing the services of Lood de Jager (Sale, England) and Jesse Kriel (Canon Eagles, Japan) at the end of the season.

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