The sands of time have moved quickly at Loftus Versfeld this year and Bulls coach Nollis Marais is already deep into his planning for the new SuperRugby season early next year.
While he confirmed that he is still having “on-going negotiations” with a couple of players with a view to luring them to Loftus Versfeld, Marais said he believes he already has the bulk of the players he needs; it’s just that their talents have previously been buried.
“We will add on a bit to the Currie Cup side and I’m busy working on that, talking to a couple of guys, but we’ve got the players, we just need to develop them. The skills aren’t good enough and there will be a huge emphasis on that. Before I do any game plan, I need to know the execution will be there, so the skills and conditioning need to be better, that’s going to be a huge drive for me,” Marais said.
The newly-appointed SuperRugby coach has his eye on forwards in the main in terms of acquisitions, because with the players at Loftus Versfeld already, the Bulls should have a very exciting backline next year.
“I’ve come a long way with Handre Pollard, we won the Varsity Cup together at Tuks, and he’s an excellent player. I met with him last weekend before he left for Japan and with the way we want to play in future and the way the game is developing, he’s going to have a massive role to play because he’s a brilliant flyhalf. He just needs some freedom around a few things.
“I was the first to try Jesse Kriel at centre, because I rated Duncan Matthews as a very good fullback and they turned an U21 final for me. So we have Duncan and Warrick Gelant at 15, who are both good young fullbacks, and Jesse Kriel can play both, but I like him at 13,” Marais said.
Adding to the backline riches are Springboks Rudi Paige and Bjorn Basson, while in midfield, Marais has tough choices to make at inside centre between Burger Odendaal, Jan Serfontein and Dries Swanepoel.