Pretoria - It has been six years since the
Blue Bulls last had their hands on the Currie Cup and newly appointed coach
Nollis Marais are under no illusions that anything less than the title will not
be tolerated by their supporters.
“Nothing but winning the Currie Cup will be
good enough, I know the people from Pretoria, and they will hate me for saying
we are aiming for a semi-final, they want a win,” Marais said.
“I’ve lived here my whole life and the
people of Pretoria only want winning teams, they don’t want words, they want
action on the field.”
Marais was this week at pains to explain
that he wanted to restore the supporters’ faith in a side that last won the
Currie Cup back in 2009.
The former Tuks Varsity Cup and Vodacom Cup
coach was responsible for bringing silverware to Loftus Versfeld when he won
the Under-21 Provincial Championship in 2014.
In naming an extended squad for this year’s
Currie Cup competition Marais highlighted his history with most of the players
he would be coaching.
“If you look at the squad, I think it is
only five players that have not played for me through the junior ranks which
gives me a huge advantage,” Marais said.
“The only thing that I can say is that we
are working hard and we are not going to make any promises but when we hit that
pitch it is going to be a different side.”
Marais said he made it clear to his players
that he would expect nothing but the best from them in order to win back the
hearts of Blue Bulls supporters.
“This team will not rock up and not pitch
for a game, it is a team they will be proud of and it won’t always be plain
sailing,” he said.
“The players are not disillusioned, they
know they owe the fans something and they have to show accountability.
“I want pride back in the jersey and
players will get frustrated with me in the beginning but I want the best from
Although the Bulls had some of the best
rugby talent at his disposal, previous coaches have been reluctant to select
youngsters at senior level.
The 48-year-old Marais, however, said he
would not hesitate to select a young player that was good enough for selection.
“It is easy for me, the guys that are in
form has to play, if the youngsters come through we must give them the
opportunity to play,” Marais said.
“The player that performs will be the guy
that will be selected for the side. Confidence is something you created and a
lack of confidence is also something you create through your selection policy.
“I want the guys in our junior structures
to know they are up for selection.”