Super Rugby

Naas: Bulls coach should be axed

Nollis Marais (Gallo)
Nollis Marais (Gallo)

Pretoria - Former Bulls and Springbok star Naas Botha called for coach Nollis Marais to be sacked after a humiliating 62-24 Super Rugby loss to the Crusaders in Pretoria Saturday.

"In the real world someone would get fired," the SuperSport TV analyst said, clearly referring to Marais.

"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."

Fellow SuperSport analyst, ex-Bulls and Springboks lock Victor Matfield was equally scathing after the 10-try-to-three rout at Loftus Versfeld stadium.

"The Bulls played without a plan. What I want to know is how do they intend to win matches?," he asked.

Nick Mallett, a former Springboks coach and another panelist, said: "The Bulls were appalling on attack and in defence."

Three-time former champions, the Bulls face a bleak future with no chance of making the play-offs after six losses in nine outings.

A small crowd in the 50,000-seat stadium illustrated the disillusionment of Bulls' supporters with a team that has battled since Marais took over last season.

Success came all too easy for seven-time former champions the Crusaders as they made it 10 wins in a row since the season began three months ago.

It was their second biggest win this year after a 50-3 rout of the Japanese Sunwolves and they have scored 167 points in their last three games, all against South African sides.

The Christchurch outfit top the New Zealand standings by four points from the Chiefs with defending champions the Hurricanes a further four points back with a game in hand.

The Crusaders host the Hurricanes and visit the Chiefs in their next two fixtures.

The visitors needed only five minutes to take the lead against the Bulls through flanker Pete Samu and built a 31-3 advantage by half-time.

A feature of the triumph was outstanding scrumming against a Bulls front row that included retired Springboks skipper and hooker Adriaan Strauss.

The New Zealanders achieved the huge winning margin despite lacking their star forwards, No. 8 Kieran Read (injured) and lock Sam Whitelock (suspended).

"We were really fired up for this match as the team has struggled to win at Loftus," skipper and flanker Matt Todd said, referring to Crusaders last winning in Pretoria nine years ago.

"Facing the Bulls, we needed early momentum and achieved that goal. However, our victory was not as easy as the scoreline suggests."

Asked whether the Crusaders were brilliant or the Bulls were woeful, Strauss fudged his answer.

"The Crusaders were very clinical with clever kicks and line breaks," he replied without delving into the ills of his team.

Samu, Tim Bateman, Scott Barrett, Jack Goodhue (2), Seta Tamanivalu, David Havili, Richie Mo'unga, Andrew Makalio and Mitchell Hunt were Crusaders' try scorers.

Mo'unga slotted fire conversions from eight attempts and substitute Hunt one from two.

Jesse Kriel, Jamba Ulengo and Jan Serfontein scored tries for the Bulls, all of which Francois Brummer converted, and Tian Schoeman kicked a penalty.

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