Marais 'under pressure' as Bulls stutter
Pretoria - It was supposed to be the day that the Bulls turned their season around, but instead they were stunned by a 21-20 loss to the Sunwolves in Tokyo on Saturday.
It is the first time that the newly-formed Japanese outfit has beaten a South African side in Super Rugby, and it is already being called one of the darkest days in Bulls history.
It leaves coach Nollis Marais with just one win from six this season and this Bulls team bears absolutely no resemblance to the championship winning squads of 2007, 2009 and 2010.
Marais, in his second season as coach of the franchise, knows he is under pressure.
"I think every coach's job is on the line. If you're one out of six, I will always feel that you're under pressure," he said after this latest disappointment.
"It's Super Rugby and the people expect a lot from their coaches. I know that our board has got a lot of faith in me but the results need to prove it and we'll need to fix it before next weekend."
The Bulls have played just one fixture at Loftus this season, and the fact that they are returning home for four straight home matches is perhaps the only shining light for Marais at this time.
"We're going home now and we've got a lot of games at home. We'll focus on getting right for the Jaguares. That's the only thing we can control at the moment is getting ready for the Jaguares," Marais said.
The coach also chose not to single out any players after the Sunwolves match.
"Obviously you feel a bit unsatisfied by certain guys' performances but you have to look at it as a whole team and at the end of the day the whole team was not good enough," he said.
"The Sunwolves defended quite well, came off the line and we made a few handling errors. Our plan was to hold onto the ball and that didn't work out. They rushed us into mistakes and we panicked.
"We made too many errors ... small little things that cost us momentum."
Marais would also not comment on referee Will Houston sent off Jan Serfontein for a professional foul with just over 10 minutes remaining.
"It's very difficult to defend with 14 men and we knew we were in trouble. We still thought we could win it in the end with a penalty but unfortunately we missed it. We should have never been in that position. We were not good enough," said Marais.
"The yellow card cost us at the end."