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    Marais under 'huge pressure' at Bulls

    2016-07-07 11:42

    Lloyd Burnard - Sport24

    Cape Town - The Bulls head into the last two weekends of Super Rugby knowing that back-to-back victories will probably not be enough to secure a spot in the play-offs. 

    They host the Sunwolves this weekend before traveling to Bloemfontein for a date with the Cheetahs next weekend in the final round of group stage fixtures.

    But the Sharks play those same two teams in their final two matches and if they win, as expected, they will secure a quarter-final spot ahead of the Bulls. 

    Coach Nollis Marais was asked at Wednesday's team announcement in Pretoria if having their play-off fate out of their own hands meant that the Bulls approached Saturday's clash against the Sunwolves with less pressure. 

    Marais, though, didn't think so. 

    In fact, he conceded that he was under significantly more pressure than he was when the Bulls were still in the play-off race.

    "I’ve got a huge amount of pressure now at the moment. For us I think the pressure is even more,"  said Marais.

    "The expectation was always to reach the play-offs. I’m very disappointed.

    "It was not a good night for us on Saturday. We had a great opportunity to win the game, come back here and play the Sunwolves and get into a play-off situation."

    The game that Marais is referring to was Saturday's 29-11 loss to the Jaguares in Buenos Aires. 

    Had the Bulls won that match, they would have moved ahead of the Sharks in the South African Group and into pole position in the race to secure the wildcard play-off spot.

    "The pressure is definitely on for us," Marais added.

    "The worst thing you can do now is not play well on Saturday and then the Cheetahs beat the Sharks, and that might not be a good day for you."

    The Bulls take on the Sunwolves at 17:05 at Loftus.

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    Fixtures

    Saturday, 17 February 2018
    • Stormers v Jaguares, Cape Town 15:05
    • Lions v Sharks, Emirates Airlines Park 17:15
    Friday, 23 February 2018
    • Highlanders v Blues, 08:35
    • Rebels v Reds, AAMI Park 10:45
    Saturday, 24 February 2018
    • Sunwolves v Brumbies, Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium 06:15
    • Crusaders v Chiefs, 08:35
    • Waratahs v Stormers, Allianz Stadium 10:45
    • Lions v Jaguares, Emirates Airlines Park 15:05
    • Bulls v Hurricanes, Loftus Versfeld 17:15

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