Marais: I've been turning to Heyneke for help
Pretoria - Bulls coach Nollis Marais is enduring a torrid time at Loftus.
His side has limped to three wins from nine this year, including a loss in Tokyo against the Sunwolves, but the real low point came last Saturday when the Bulls leaked 10 tries to be battered 62-24 by the Crusaders in front of their home crowd.
It led to increased frustration in Pretoria, and the pressure on Marais has reached new heights.
The coach made wholesale changes to his side for this Saturday's clash against the Highlanders, and he confirmed at Thursday's team announcement that he had been picking the brain of former Springbok and Bulls coach Heyneke Meyer during these troubling times.
Marais confirmed that he called Meyer the day after the Crusaders demolition.
"I phoned coach Heyneke on Sunday," Marais confirmed.
"Coach Heyneke has always been my mentor and he gave me an opportunity in my coaching career.
"We had a discussion about the same situation that he was in before 2007 when they were battling and how he turned them into a winning side.
"He gave me a lot of advice and we had a lot of discussions during the week. I've got no ego, so for me it's easy to speak to somebody that has been through it.
"It hasn't been an easy season and it's been difficult times, but it's nice to have a guy like coach Heyneke who you can talk to on a friend basis and also as a coach. He helped me a lot with a lot of decisions I had to make and also just a bit of guidance in going forward."
Saturday's clash kicks off at 15:05.
15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Jade Stighling, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Jamba Ulengo, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Hanro Liebenberg (captain), 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Ruan Steenkamp, 5 RG Snyman, 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Lizo Gqoboka
Substitutes: 16 Edgar Marutlulle, 17 Pierre Schoeman, 18 Coenraad van Vuuren, 19 Lood de Jager, 20 Nic de Jager, 21 Rudy Paige, 22 Tony Jantjies, 23 Jan Serfontein
15 Matt Faddes, 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Richard Buckman, 11 Patrick Osborne, 10 Marty Banks, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Gareth Evans, 7 Dillon Hunt, 6 Elliot Dixon, 5 Tom Franklin, 5 Alex Ainley, 4 Siosuia Halanukonuka, 2 Ash Dixon (captain), 1 Aki Seiuli
Substitutes: 16 Greg Pleasants-Tate, 17 Daniel Lienert-Brown, 18 Siate Tokolahi, 19 Joe Wheeler, 20 Jackson Hemopo, 21 Kayne Hammington, 22 Fletcher Smith, 23 Teihorangi Walden