Pretoria - As the Bulls prepare for what is a daunting Super Rugby assignment against the Lions in Johannesburg this weekend, the pressure on coach Nollis Marais continues to grow.
It has been a tough season for Marais and the Bulls and they have won just three of their 10 matches in 2017 to see their playoff hopes dashed.
Consecutive wins at home against the Cheetahs and then Jaguares gave Marais a brief reprieve, but then the Crusaders came to Loftus and walloped the Bulls 62-24 in their own back yard.
That result immediately put Marais back in the firing line, and when he watched his side squander a perfect opportunity to beat the Highlanders last weekend - they lost after having a one-man advantage - the Bulls had reached a new low.
With the Lions having won 10 of their 11 matches this season, it is hard to see the Bulls returning to winning ways this season.
But, as Marais takes on another fixture, he can at least take comfort in the fact that he has a fan in Highlanders coach Tony Brown.
The former All Black flyhalf was asked to comment on Marais' struggles after Saturday's clash at Loftus.
"I know him. I've met him a couple of times," Brown said.
"Coaching is not an easy job, but he is obviously a fantastic coach.
"He's just got to stick true to what he believes in and I'm sure that his coaching team and his players will stick by him and try and put in some really quality performances over the back half of this competition."
Kick-off at Ellis Park on Saturday is at 17:15.