AUDIO: 'You haven't seen the best of Handre yet'
SUPER RUGBY SPOTLIGHT: He is a bit like an uncut diamond, but a pure gem that needs some polishing.
This is the view of Braam van Straaten, former Springbok flyhalf and current Sharks kicking coach, on the values of Bulls and current Bok No.10 Handre Pollard.
Van Straaten, with 21 Test caps to his name, was asked about the threats Pollard will pose when the Sharks travel to Pretoria on Saturday to face the much-improved Bulls in a Round Four encounter.
Pollard was at the heart of the Bulls 30-12 demolition of the Lions at Ellis Park last Saturday, the first time since 2015 the Lions to South African team at home.
Pollard will again be key when the Sharks arrive at Loftus Versfeld, for a crunch encounter at a venue where the Sharks have not won since 2011.
“As I said some time ago, Handre will become the best flyhalf in the world if he adapts certain aspects of his game,” Van Straaten said ahead of the Sharks’ trip north.
“He is still a bit raw in certain areas of his game,” the Sharks kicking coach said.
“He is starting to take the authority in his game and driving it well.
“He is tactically really good – he kicks really well out of hand and these days he is kicking nicely at goal as well. We [the Sharks] have to make sure we keep him under tap and don’t give him opportunities, even from 50 [to] 60 metres out.”
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Van Straaten suggested Pollard will be one of the key players for the Springboks at the World Cup in Japan later this year.
“Handre will definitely be one of the main ball players there.
“Looking at the way he is growing in that role, the way he is growing with some really experienced players around him – like Duane [Vermeulen] and Schalk Brits – just the clarity around what they are trying to achieve gives him the authority to run it like he wants to.
“He is a real talent.
“You haven’t seen the best of Handre yet.
“We will have to make sure we put him under pressure. We have to make sure we don’t let him get his own way.”