Pollard stars as Bulls snap losing streak

Handre Pollard of the Bulls kicks the ball during their match against the Argentinian Jaguares at the Loftus Rugby Stadium on April 15, 2017 in Pretoria

Fly-half Handre Pollard booted 16 points as Northern Bulls snapped a three-loss Super Rugby run by defeating Jaguares of Argentina 26-13 in Pretoria Saturday.

The Springbok fly-half converted tries by winger Trevor Ismaiel and lock Lood de Jager and slotted four penalties in a flawless goal-kicking performance.

Fly-half Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias converted a try by scrum-half Gonzalo Bertranou and kicked two penalties for the South Americans.

Bulls led 13-3 at half-time in a scrappy round 8 match at Loftus Versfeld stadium that provided little entertainment for a small Easter holiday crowd

The result was far more important for the hosts than the manner in which it was achieved after a humiliating loss to the lowly Sunwolves in Tokyo last weekend.

"We desperately needed a win after a disappointing tour to New Zealand and Japan," said Bulls hooker and former Springboks captain Adriaan Strauss.

"This result will bring some joy back to the team, even if we did not perform at our best.

"I was happy to see more width in our play, but we need to get over the advantage line more often and retain possession for longer periods."

Jaguares lock Guido Petti said: "The Bulls were a very aggressive side and we learnt a lot from playing them.

"Our aim is to keep improving and try to qualify for the knockout stage of the competition this season."

Victory moved the Bulls up one place to second in the Africa 1 conference, 16 points behind runaway leaders Western Stormers.

Jaguares remain third in the Africa 2 standings, nine points adrift of leaders Golden Lions and three behind second-place Coastal Sharks.

With Stormers and Lions looking likely conference winners, the Sharks and Jaguares are set to fight for the best runners-up slot which secures a quarter-finals place.

Pollard and Iglesias exchanged first-quarter penalties before Ismaiel scrambled over the line after a break by scrum Piet van Zyl.

Another penalty from Polland, who missed all of last season through injury, gave the Bulls a 13-3 half-time advantage.

Pollard slotted his third penalty on 44 minutes to stretch the lead before the Jaguares scored 10 points during their best spell.

Bertranou claimed a try and Iglesias kicked the conversion and a penalty to narrow the Bulls lead to 16-13 just before the hour.

But the Buenos Aires outfit could not sustain the momentum and a De Jager try and a conversion and penalty from Pollard left the Bulls comfortable winners.