Springbok flyhalf Handre Pollard is set to feature prominently for Montpellier in the coming weeks after making his return from a long-term injury to help the French club book a place in the European Challenge Cup final.
Pollard suffered a serious knee injury in just his second game of the season but returned on Saturday off the bench to kick a late penalty for the Top 14 strugglers in a 19-10 win against Bath.
The 27-year-old made his return with 22 minutes to go, almost eight months after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament.
Montpellier scrumhalf Benoit Paillaugue said the World Cup winner will have “a very big role to play” in the rest of the campaign.
‘He’s a very important part of our team. He’s got a lot of experience and will help us a lot at the end of the season. He has a very big role to play,’ Paillaugue said.
‘We showed massive heart today, huge solidarity. It was a deserved win.’
Montpellier, the 2016 Challenge Cup winners, will face Leicester in the final on May 21 at Twickenham, where up to 10,000 fans will be present.
Pollard was joined on the bench by fellow World Cup winners, Cobus Reinach and Bismarck du Plessis. Du Plessis, a World Cup winner in 2007 with the Springboks, also came on and won two incredible penalties at the breakdown with the home side on top.
Despite Bath’s efforts in search of a try and place in the final, a first since 2014, Montpellier defended well to hold on and Pollard kicked a penalty in added time.
Montpellier’s focus now turns to hosting La Rochelle next weekend and securing their Top 14 status, as they are just four points above the relegation play-off place.