The boot of Bulls captain Handre Pollard could hold a big threat for the visitors in this weekend’s big Super Rugby showdown at Loftus Versfeld, the Lions’ powerhouse prop Dylan Smith has admitted.
In their previous game at Ellis Park, both teams scored two tries, but it was the 20 points scored by Pollard (including six penalties) which proved decisive in the Bulls earning a 30-12 win.
The Lions, meanwhile, had decided to keep the Bulls guessing by waiting until Friday to name their side, which added further intrigue to the game.
“I think when you give away a few penalties, you have to look at your own discipline, but we are not going to point fingers,” said Smith, who scored one of the Lions’ tries in their derby clash earlier this year.
“But Polly is a great flyhalf. You can’t really place enough emphasis on that.”
With Smith having recently produced some powerful performances in the scrum, this area of the game could be key, and he was gearing up for a direct confrontation with Bulls tighthead Trevor Nyakane.
“A lot has happened since the last game, but it’s always a great challenge coming up against the Bulls pack,” said Smith.
“That’s something I can look forward to. I’ve played against Trevor here and there, and it’s always an exciting challenge.”
While the Bulls had an experienced back row spearheaded by Duane Vermeulen, Smith believed their own Vincent Tshituka had come along in leaps and bounds.
“There’s no reason to shy away from the challenge. Vincent was amazing against the Stormers… and I don’t think we have a point to prove, but it’s a Bulls pack, and if you don’t go in with everything you will come out with nothing.”
Though they would miss Kwagga Smith and Warren Whiteley, Smith believed they had enough firepower left in their tank.
“Warren and Kwagga are still around and they provide a lot of mentorship,” he said.