Zondagh '80%' towards sorting out Bulls structure

    2019-03-19 19:20
    Bulls president Willem Strauss and director of rug
    Bulls president Willem Strauss and director of rugby Alan Zondagh (Gallo Images)

    Brenden Nel -

    Pretoria - Bulls Director of Rugby Alan Zondagh believes he is "80% there" to sorting out a new structure that will benefit the Bulls in terms of the changes coming in SA Rugby over the next year.

    With the departure of High Performance Manager Xander Janse van Rensburg, as well as CEO Barend van Graan, Zondagh was asked to do an audit on the structures to see how they could be streamlined to meet the new challenges under a smaller contracting system and to get the optimal use of all the Bulls personnel.

    And, according to, he is almost there.

    "I won't discuss all the problems. There are a lot of things we have to sort out. I think from a structural point of view, I'm 80 percent there. The structure has been accepted, my new structure, for the rugby performance division," Zondagh said.

    "I'm now just busy sitting with all my staff, because some of their contracts are coming to an end, so they know what is going on going forward. That is always the bad thing about professional rugby - that most people work with a gun against their head every day. I don't want it to be like that. Hopefully by the end of March all that will be settled and everybody will be in their jobs in the new structure. I'm still sorting out the new job descriptions for each person, so they know what their responsibilities are and that it is clear cut.

    "From April the car will start running and moving, and at least that will be on the one side."

    Zondagh believes that the Bulls are on the right track in the coaching department at the moment.

    "On the coaching side of the team and the matches we have played, I think we are in a good position, it could have been better if we had a good stint in Argentina. But 'sjoe', it is a hectic competition, we haven't started playing against the Australian teams, who have improved. And the New Zealand teams are killing each other over there, and hopefully they will kill each other that we can have a chance to pick up a few wins there as well.

    "There are still a few things we have to work on to make it better... but I think the guys have learnt a few things... if you take the first game we played in the Marvel festival in Cape Town, we were 21-0 down early on, and there the team showed me they can settle themselves and say it is not all lost, we actually got to a situation where they got back to take the lead from 21-0 down and that was a good fightback. That showed me something.

    "I still think we learnt that, and the other thing we have done well, with someone like (Handre) Pollard - I've always been of the opinion that if you have a kicker, and you know in this area he has a 90 percent success rate, and you get a penalty, then you go for the points.

    "It is not actually a decision we made - or Pote (Human) made as head coach. I haven't heard him send a message down and say go for the poles - Pote is not like that. He leaves it up to the decision-makers on the field and I am impressed to see the decision-makers make that decision every time - take the points.

    "I am not talking about no time left and you need to score. That is something completely different. But under normal circumstances that three points every time just builds pressure and now the last two games we have scored in the 80th minute and they have to chase the game. It's like the final nail in the coffin. Those are the things for me at the moment that are very positive. That, and the way the guys are working at the moment."

    The success on the field has certainly made life easier off the field for Zondagh, but the changes will ultimately show if the Bulls are on the right track long term, and if they can return to their former glory.

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