Currie Cup

No place for egos at Bulls - Marais

2015-08-28 11:00
Nollis Marais (Gallo Images)

Pretoria - With his charges exuding confidence following three comprehensive victories in as many weeks, Blue Bulls coach Nollis Marais admits one of the challenges is to keep their feet on the ground.

“It will always be a challenge because you have young guys where there is a lot of attention on them where people want to meet them,” Marais said.

“What we don’t want is egos and it is something I won’t stand for but they are good rugby players and nobody has an air or anything.”

The Blue Bulls will be looking to ride the wave of their recent success when they travel to Kimberley to face Griquas on Saturday (15:00 kick-off).

The Pretoria side won the previous encounter a fortnight ago by an 18-point margin but Marais warned that Kimberley had a reputation of ruining reputations.

“The last six times that we’ve played there we’ve only won twice, so it will be a challenge for us because it is tough place to play,” Marais said.

“Our preparations were better this week than before the Western Province match and the players’ are focused because they know it could be the beginning or end of careers in Kimberley.”

The Bulls have started their season with a flourish and received a major confidence boost over the weekend when they steamrolled Western Province 47-29 at Loftus Versfeld.

However, their previous encounter against the Peacock Blues was not the walkover the scoreline may have suggested.

Griquas made the Bulls work hard for the victory, enjoying the lead going into the half-time break before the hosts ran away with it in the last quarter.

Thanks to a clever headline in a daily newspaper and his no-nonsense approach, the players have given Marais the nickname ‘Chuck Nollis’.

Among the jokes doing the rounds at Loftus Versfeld is that Marais once had a staring contest with the sun, and won.

Demonstrating his earnest approach, Marais said he was not satisfied with his team’s performances in the scrums where the Griquas in particular had their number.

“We need to make sure we are more accurate, we are conceding too many points in the beginning, our set-piece needs to be better,” he said.

“Our scrum is problem at the moment and I make no secret about that, and we need to be more accurate.”

While the men from Pretoria are sitting pretty at the top of the Currie Cup log after three rounds, Marais feels they are still far from being the finished product.

“We are a long way from where we want to be, we are playing 30 percent of the rugby we want to play and we just need to build on it every week,” he said.

Teams:

Griquas

15 Riaan Viljoen, 14 Sandile Ngcobo, 13 Michael van der Spuy, 12 Clinton Swart, 11 Ntabeni Dukisa, 10 Francois Brummer, 9 Tian Meyer (captain), 8 RJ Liebenberg, 7 Jonathan Adendorf, 6 Johan Wessels, 5 Hugo Kloppers, 4 Jaco Nepgen, 3 Ewald van der Westhuizen, 2 AJ le Roux, 1 Steph Roberts

Substitutes: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 Luxolo Koza, 18 Hilton Lobberts, 19 Carel Greeff, 20 Rudi van Rooyen, 21 Jonathan Francke, 22 Ruhan Nel

Blue Bulls

15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Dries Swanepoel, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Jamba Ulengo, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Ivan van Zyl, 8 Arno Botha, 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Lappies Labuschagne (captain), 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Jacques du Plessis, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Bandise Maku, 1 Dean Greyling

Substitutes: 16 Corniel Els, 17 Dayan van der Westhuizen, 18 RG Snyman, 19 Nick de Jager, 20 Andre Warner, 21 Louis Fouche, 22 Dan Kriel

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