Pretoria - Bulls coach Nollis Marais acknowledges that his side has let down the Loftus Versfeld faithful this Super Rugby season.
The Bulls go into their final match of the year against the Stormers at Loftus on Saturday having lost 10 of their 14 matches under Marais, including defeats to the Sunwolves and Kings.
It has been a season to forget for the champions of 2007, 2008 and 2010 and it ultimately cost Marais his job.
While he will be staying on at the union and will serve as the Blue Bulls' Currie Cup coach, Marais has lost his Super Rugby spot to the incoming John Mitchell.
Speaking at Loftus on Thursday after his team announcement, Marais gave some insight into whatb he had endured this season.
"Obviously there is change coming, but we've let the fans down which is not nice. It's not the greatest feeling in the world," he said.
"For me personally, I learnt a lot from on and off the field issues ... especially from off the field issues. That was not something I dealt with in the lower levels.
"There are a lot of things I've learnt, but there are a also a lot of positives. There are a lot of youngsters coming through."
Marais firmly believes that this group of Bulls players will be a highly competitive Super Rugby force in a couple of years, while he says he always knew 2017 would be a tough year because of how young the players were.
All the Bulls can control now is Saturday, and with the Stormers having already qualified for the quarter-finals, there is only pride to play for.
"I think they're playing good rugby and they're going to be tough. There are a lot of Boks in that side. They've got an excellent pack so if we're going to match them, we're going to have to match them up front," Marais said of the Capetonians.
"But we want to finish off strong and make people proud on Saturday by playing good rugby."
Kick-off is at 15:05
15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Duncan Mathews, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Nick de Jager, 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Shaun Adendorff, 5 RG Snyman, 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Conraad van Vuurren, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Pierre Schoeman
Substitutes: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 John-Roy Jenkinson, 19 Ruben van Heerden, 20 Ruan Steenkamp, 21 Piet Van Zyl, 22 Tony Jantjies, 23 Burger Odendaal
15 Dillyn Leyds, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 EW Viljoen, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Seabelo Senatla, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Rynhardt Elstadt, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg.
Substitutes: 16 Ramone Samuels, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Wilco Louw, 19 Chris van Zyl, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Justin Phillips, 22 Juan de Jongh, 23 Dan Kriel