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'No bulls*** with him': What convinced Pollard to join Leicester

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Craig Mercer/MB Media/Getty Images)

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Springboks World Cup winner Handre Pollard has explained that Steve Borthwick’s no-nonsense style as Leicester boss was pivotal in convincing him to join the Tigers next season in the run-up to the 2023 World Cup in France. The out-half moved to Montpellier following his country’s 2019 triumph in Japan but he has now committed to replacing the Sale-bound George Ford at Welford Road. 

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There were more rewarding contract options elsewhere available to Pollard but in the end, his conversations with Borthwick were too impressive for him to ignore and his switch to Leicester for the 2022/23 season was confirmed by the club last Tuesday. 

Pollard has since given his first interview about his decision to the Tigers website and he wasn’t shy in explaining what he felt were the attractions of a move to England. 

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“Look, there is no bull s***ing around this, there were bigger deals on the table but I have made this decision to work with Steve and to be a part of an unreal, great club at Leicester Tigers which has such a great history in rugby. That is what excites me, being a part of what is happening at this club under Steve.

“Look, he has a very clear vision for what he wants and what he expects. I want that. There is no bulls*** with him. I respect that. He is straight up and that is what I love about a head coach, straight in your face, whether you like it or not, and I want that, I respect that.”

Pollard was further convinced he would be making the right decision in joining Leicester when he watched their home Premiership game last Sunday versus Harlequins live on TV, the Tigers winning their ninth match in a row to leave them nine points clear of second-place Saracens heading into the opening two rounds of the Champions Cup. “Everybody I have spoken to about playing there, for Tigers or an away team, it’s the one stadium they always say is on another level.

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“I was watching the game last weekend and that vibe, through the TV, it was so electrifying and truly amazing. It gave me goosebumps knowing I would be there next season… I also know there are big shoes to fill. George Ford has been great for the club and is a world-class player. I am sure it is hard to see him go, but it creates my opportunity and I cannot wait.”

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