The current Bulls squad seems to have the potential to grow into mighty oaks, but at the moment their young, inexperienced pack could be likened to a bonsai, which is probably why coach Nollis Marais on Monday announced former Springbok eighthman Anton Leonard as one of his assistant coaches.
Leonard, who captained the Bulls at the beginning of the century as they began their climb out of the mire, will be the forwards coach having impressed Marais with his work with the South-Western Districts pack.
“I’ve been speaking to Anton for a while and he’s done excellent work with South-Western Districts, they almost beat the Lions in the Vodacom Cup to make the semi-finals. He’s the best forwards coach currently available and he’s very experienced. How many Super Rugby games has he played, he knows the Bulls’ tradition, he knows about the travel and our culture.
“He told me he wants to make the Bulls proud again and get the old values back. The players look up to him and he agrees with me that rugby has changed and we have to change our style of play. But to do that we have to have a platform up front, and Western Province showed where we need to improve by putting us under pressure in the set-pieces,” Marais told The Citizen.
David Manual, who has done brilliant work with this year’s Currie Cup squad, will be the backline coach, while Gary Botha (scrums & breakdowns) and Pine Pienaar (defence) will work with all Bulls teams as specialist coaches.
Hendre’ Marnitz, who replaced Marais as Blue Bulls U21 coach when he was promoted to the senior team, has also been confirmed as next year’s Currie Cup coach.
After eight years of service, Org Strauss has resigned as the team doctor and will be replaced by Herman Rossouw.