Marais fears for his job


Bulls coach Nollis Marais has admitted the pressure on his job is mounting after Saturday’s 21-20 loss to the Sunwolves in Tokyo.

The defeat means the Pretoria-based side have won just once in six matches and are in the ignominious position of being the only South African side to have lost to the Sunwolves.

Marais believes his side’s poor display was down to their inability to execute the basics correctly, for which they were duly punished.

“We made too many errors; kicking for touch, kicking directly out, small little things that cost us and they changed a lot of things in the game,” said Marais.

“We are going home where we have a lot of games and we will focus on getting things right for the Jaguares next weekend. The only thing that we can do for now is to get ready for that match against the Jaguares.”

The former U21 coach, who made the big step up to coaching the senior team last year, is well aware that he is not meeting the expectations of a union who have high expectations.

“I think every coach’s job’s is on the line. If you win one out of six matches I will always feel that you are under pressure,” the Blue Bulls coach said.

“It doesn’t matter because this is Super Rugby and people expect a lot from coaches. I know that our board has a lot of faith in me but the results need to prove it and we must fix things before our next match at the weekend.”

A lack of discipline cost the Loftus side dearly in the end, as Jan Serfontein was sin-binned in the last quarter.

“I have to review it. Unfortunately it cost us in the end. The last time we played with 14 guys it inspired us but 14 guys today was difficult to defend.

“I thought it was an excellent tackle by Jamba Ulengo to prevent a try but unfortunately we got a yellow card,” said the 45-year-old.

He added that he is unsatisfied with performances of certain players.

“I feel unsatisfied by certain performances but you have to look at it as the whole team and at the end of the day we were not good enough to win on the day.

“The players know that they did not produce the results. We have nine games to go in the competition and I think about six or seven of those matches are at home.

“The supporters must stick with the team because they know exactly what to do to get out of this situation.”

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Better known as Bunny, Took over after Pissant went over to the "Dark Side"


  1. Marais, you and your assistants is way out of your depth. It is not your fault alone, management should know that the step up from u21 and currie cup to superrugby is massive. No support was put in place.

    However, basics is something coached at lower levels, so you should really be expected to get highly paid proffesionals to catch a freaken ball. I talked to one of Marais’s big fans over the weekend, even he admitted that the results just cannot be excused any more. Desperate times at Loftus and I expect a very tough outing against the Jags. Someone know who the ref is, so that we can try buying him so long? Desperate times call for desperate measures.

  2. I wouldn’t want anyone to lose their pay gig. Maybe KK Cootzee but only because he’d have a cushy out clause.
    Sweets is only 45 & he looks 60 & put away wet.
    I blame the goon platoon around him.
    It always comes back to ZeeBulls admin. They probably have sedimentary layers of do-nothing managers from nepotism appointments.
    That coupled with probably doing creepy black magic to get an edge…
    It’s awful. I hope they get axed for the team of love & light….Cheetahs.

  3. @Aldo:

    Who are the current assistants at Loftus? I do hope they have proper support for Nollis as the last time I saw something about Bulls assistant coaches it was a bunch of ex players and someone I don’t know as backline coach.

    If this is still the case, no wonder Nollis is struggling, he has no backup.

  4. @Craven: Still the same, gary botha forwards coach, Anton Leonard some or other coach and an unknown as backline coach. Can’t remember his name. But he is the guy that always sits to the side in coaching box when the rest stand around complaining. Probably the only coach that realize the results on field is because of their ineptitude.

  5. @Craven: The funny part is that the powers that be thought you could drop an inexperienced coach in a senior position, and give him inexperienced coaches as assistant. And then expect results. The sad part is that they still believe it.

    Think Pine Pienaar is our defense coach.

  6. Jeez, that is rough.

    Do they have a director of rugby currently? Maybe they should not buy all the junior players at Craven week this year and rather opt for buying an experienced coach.

  7. Well Jake’s gig is up soon after yet another rip-snorting season… there is no better RSA coach to come back and do a Brumbies on the Bulls…

  8. What really irks me, is that we were once the team that brought new developments to the game, the team that started trends. Now we have no clue anymore.

    It is as if the top brass at the Bulls are hell bent on destroying our union, how can they leave open the DOR role for more than 4 years. What for?

  9. I feel for this oke. He was on a hiding to nothing. Got to pick prerty much totally young team from an ageing generation that was already on the wane.

    First year of super rugby , they were always going to get a pak. I’d rather have this dude coaching the Boks then that conservative Coetzee, who just stuck with old players.

  10. @cab:

    Nup Cab… the ‘older’ generation as you refer to them all retired in 2011 and were long gone by the time Marais took over. The Bulls have had some of the most promising youngsters (and still do) in their ranks (albeit they’re leaking them) and Marais has moved up with them from the U21’s in 2011 for four years, then two in the VC and one in CC before Ludeke left.

    So I’m not buying that ‘inheriting’ a brand new set of players angle in the slightest.

    On the surface the biggest issue seems to be the total change in management support structures at the Bulls. They’ve seem to have devolved back to pre-Heyneke days. Heyneke (albeit it took time) built a large teams of coaches that were all on the same page and the ability for the players under them to transition up the ladder was evident. There was a director of rugby, the head coach, excellent support coaches and in Louden they had cutting edge mavericks in the game… however almost instantly there is no DOR, there is no experience of a HM…. long gone are the wise heads of the Van Graan’s and McFarlands et al for support… and Todd Louden’s name is but an old wives tail…

    This is where they need a JW type to come in with his big picture approach… shake up the establishment and reinvent them from the ground up, including his out-the-box approach he has with other aspects of the game. Bulls are holding on to far too many players in certain positions, whereas they are grossly deficient in others. I do suspect this has a bit to do with enforced ‘numbers’ though.

    As was evident with JW at the Brumbies… he has a knack for sorting the wheat from the chaff and talent spotting. He culled a few and identified a decent mix of old and new nobody else in Australia had observed. The amount of Wallabies that came from that mix of un-identified and unprecedented… and I doubt the Brumbies had to pay top dollar at all for those first two seasons…

    The Bulls need all of the above.

  11. @Timeo: That is one of my gripes. Nollis is following the Harry viljoen style of kicking is not important. Bulls were in the bottom 3 with kicks from hand last time I checked. We try and play from our own half and do not have the skills to hold onto the ball for extended periods of play.

    As for Nollis being stuck with new players, he is part of the baantjies for boeties project sadly. I think he has talent as a coach, but superrugby is a step to far with his current experience and as Bryce pointed out so nicely, no experienced heads to help him out. Meyer’s best attribute at the Bulls, was identifying players suited to a certain gameplan and getting coaches suited to that gameplan. Currently we have players with too many differing skillsets and no one playing to a set pattern. Any gameplan in the world can be world beating, if you pick players and have coaches that suit the gameplan.

  12. @Aldo:

    Was flabbergasted when I read some comments on social media with punters complaining that the Bulls’ lack of results are due to their Kick-and-chase approach. If only they played with some kind of plan.

  13. Thinking that Ian Schwartz’ loss was far deeper a loss than HM.
    HM should have been brought on board as DOR the way the Sharks did with Rudolph Straueli.

    His careful talent nurturing would have made a massive difference to the Bulls eventually but there was no succession planning after Ian was diagnosed with lupus.