Super Rugby

Ex-Bok: Sacking Bulls coach won’t solve problems

Nollis Marais (Gallo Images)
Nollis Marais (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Sacking Nollis Marais as Bulls coach would not solve the team’s problems, former Springbok captain Wynand Claassen believes.

Following the Bulls’ 62-24 home Super Rugby defeat against the Crusaders last weekend, there have been calls for the Bulls’ coaching staff to get the boot.

Former flyhalf Naas Botha called for Marais to be sacked after watching his former team concede 10 tries at Loftus Versfeld.

"In the real world someone would get fired," Botha said on SuperSport.

"However, I doubt that it will happen. I say with sadness that the Bulls looked like a team that had not been coached," added the dominant South African flyhalf of the 1980s and early 1990s.

"The wrong players were in the wrong positions on the field and made the wrong decisions."  

However Claassen - a former Northern Transvaal and Natal No 8 who played seven Tests for the Springboks between 1981 and 1982 - believes hiring a new coach would not necessarily reap rewards.

In an interview with Netwerk24, Claassen said the defeat was a “sign of the times in South African rugby”.

“The problem is not unique to the Bulls. There are underlying problems in South African rugby and we’re starting to see more and more signs of it. The writing has been on the wall for a long time and it’s going to be tough to resurrect matters. If you get rid of Nollis, then a clean sweep would be needed at Loftus.”

Claassen feels the time is right for rich businessmen to be allowed to take ownership of South Africa’s franchises and run them like businesses.

When probed whether or not he felt like his job was on the line, the Bulls coach commented:

"I cannot make a decision. I think there's two coaches in life... one that's fired and one that's going to get fired," Marais said at the post-match press conference.

"I know there are a lot of unhappy people and I accept it as well. I'm not running away from it. Whatever happens at the end of the day, that's the board's decision. If the board see it that I'm not up for it, I've got to respect that decision. It will not be nice."

Marais added that he accepted full responsibility for the loss, and he would not point fingers at any individual players or members of his coaching staff.

"I believe I set out with a goal when I went to the board and said 'this is our plan and this is how we want to play'. I will stick to that," Marais said.

"I've got a certain belief in rugby and I know it doesn't look that way at the moment.

"I've always had results in any team that I've coached. I think we've got a good coaching staff and for me to say that we don't have the right coaching staff to turn it around is not the right thing to do.

"I am in control of the team and I could have made a decision any time I want. If they want to blame somebody for anything it would be me; I take responsibility for the team."

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