Injury-plagued Springbok Handre Pollard is an expensive, ageing flyhalf who isn’t a “decent fit” for Leicester, according to former Tigers lock Jim Hamilton.
Speaking with ex-England pivot Andy Goode on the latest episode of ‘The Rugby Pod’, Hamilton, who made 64 appearances for Tigers, maintained Pollard may not live up to his star billing for the English club given his ongoing fitness woes.
“You wonder how fit he was? Rumours and what you were hearing was he was a long way away from being fit and the next thing he is playing,” said Hamilton to Goode, while discussing Pollard’s premature end to his Premiership debut on Saturday.
Goode replied: “You say that, Jim, but I spoke to him a few weeks back at Leicester, interviewed him in the Andy Goode suite pre-match and he was like, ‘Mate, I will be fit in a couple of weeks’.”
But Hamilton persisted: “Well, maybe there were 750,000 [pounds] reasons why he wanted to be fit. I am not being horrible but you saw the injury, he came off, I heard slightly different rumours.
“He knows better than anyone how far away he is or was and he clearly felt he was right to go [and play]. I heard he wasn’t going to be fit until January, I heard he was going to miss the autumn Tests and stuff like that.
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“I just don’t see him as a decent fit for Leicester in a like for like [after] losing George Ford. The way Leicester want to play you could say and argue the fact that Handre Pollard fits that, but I just don’t know why they have gone out and signed a South African 10 at the back end of his career when there are other players that you could potentially look at.
“I am happy to be proven wrong and I hope he is OK and I hope he does get a bit of time in the jersey, but I just wonder whether he is the right player to take Leicester forward, to win the Prem again and to win Europe and to be consistent,” he continued.
Goode suggested Hamilton was being too harsh, but the retired 63-cap Scotland international then questioned Pollard’s longevity, given his track record at Montpellier in the Top 14.
Goode said: “Jim, I am just going to call you out on something there because you are trying to write a guy’s career off. He is 28.”
Hamilton: “Is he 28? He’s in his prime … I know but I feel like he is older.
“He didn’t play loads at Montpellier, he didn’t set the world alight in the Top 14 and, I say this with all due respect, he is effectively a marquee player. He is Leicester’s marquee player and that is the level we are talking about. I’m not talking about a £200,000 player coming in and not setting the world alight.
“There is no disrespect to Handre Pollard. I love the bloke. He is a 10-out-of-10-looking bloke and I’m sure he is a lovely guy but I just feel like Leicester rushed the gun a little bit in trying to sign a top-class 10 who I don’t necessarily think fits.”
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