Johannesburg - The Bulls have denied that they are reshuffling to shore up their Super Rugby coaching staff after less than satisfactory results in this year’s tournament.
So far the Bulls, who were on a bye this weekend, have won just three of their eight games.
This has been a massive setback in a rugby season which saw them start off with high expectations.
The three-time Super Rugby champions have appeared to fall between two schools of thought when playing: staying true to the old values which got them the three titles and adopting a ball-in-hand approach.
An insider, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said changes were afoot to beef up a young coaching team, with SuperSport Rugby Challenge coach Pote Human coming in as forwards coach, while the rugby union would go looking for a backline coach.
The casualties of the move are supposed to be former Bulls captain Anton Leonard and former Bulls full back David Manuel, who would step down to the Rugby Challenge team.
But Bulls chief executive Barend van Graan denied that the changes would come into effect, even though two officials from the union understand that to be the case.
“The Blue Bulls company is in continuous discussion with the Vodacom Bulls head coach, Nollis Marais, to get the desired performance from the Bulls, keeping in mind the minimum disrupting (sic) of the team and team management,” Van Graan said via WhatsApp.
“There are no changes to the management team, but all options to improve the performance of the Bulls will be considered in consultation with the coach.
“We are not going to respond to speculation and will make an announcement if necessary”.
According to our source, Human, who was in Namibia on Saturday with the Blue Bulls side to play the Welwitschias in the Rugby Challenge competition, is supposed to join the senior Bulls side this week, while the search for the backline coach is wide open.
Former Free State captain and eighth man Human has had some success as Bulls head coach, after winning the shared Currie Cup title in 2006 with the Cheetahs, when Heyneke Meyer took a break from coaching after Super Rugby.
Asked if there was any truth to speculation that the Bulls had reached out to former All Blacks coach Wayne Smith recently, Van Graan downgraded the status of the chat with this terse reply:
“The Bulls’ head coach and members of his management team had an informal discussion on coaching matters with Wayne Smith during the team’s visit to New Zealand.”