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Rugby | Vodacom Super Rugby

John Mitchell © Gallo Images

Loftus set for major change

Change is coming to Loftus Versfeld and that’s a fact.

To say the Vodacom Bulls have been poor this season and playing below their standards is an understatement, so much so that coach Nollis Marais had to apologise to his team’s fans after the one-point loss to the Kings last week.

Marais accepted that the current season’s results have not been “acceptable” but believes that when John Mitchell arrives next week things will change for the better.

Mitchell will be at Loftus next Monday to assume his role as Executive: Rugby and take over both the strategic and active running of the team. While Marais will coach Currie Cup side, a number of changes are still being expected for the management team, with the Bulls only confirming that the current management team would stay in place until the end of Super Rugby – that is, after this weekend’s final match against the DHL Stormers at Loftus Versfeld.

Marais, for one, believes that things will be better when Mitchell takes charge.

“We know its not good enough. It's not acceptable,” he said.

“It's not like we take the loss and move on to the next game. Personally I take it very hard. It's never what you set out to do at the beginning of the season - we had big plans . . . for what we wanted to do. It doesn’t matter what I have to say now, it will be turned whichever way people want it to be turned. Obviously we are disappointed for the fans as well, it's unacceptable to lose at Loftus and we know they are very disappointed."

While there are reports already linking former All Black flyhalf Carlos Spencer to the side, the reality is there is unlikely to be big budgetary concessions made by the Board for an overhaul of the management team either, and Mitchell may have to craft out a team with what he has.

“Forget about me, it isn’t about me, it is about the team," said Marais. "I will sit down and make sure they are properly prepared for the weekend. That is the only thing I can do. We will get all the info, we can train properly. If I’m going to be involved in Super Rugby next season, that’s not my decision, that is John’s decision.

"I will work to the utmost best of my abilities and I will finish like that. If it is not my future to coach at the Bulls again in Super Rugby, then it is not. I will go from there.”

Either way the game against the Stormers will herald change at Loftus. Just how swift and great that change will be awaits to be seen.


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