JOHANNESBURG - There can be no measuring the depths that the Bulls have sunk to this season but coach Nollis Marais has one more wish ahead of their last Super Rugby outing against the Stormers on Saturday.
Beat the Stormers!
A victory against the old foe won’t change how woeful the Bulls have been this season but it will go a long way in keeping the belief alive that they can recover from their current slump considering that they will have a new voice in new executive of rugby John Mitchell next week.
However, outgoing coach Marais doesn’t want to be remembered for all that has gone wrong, particularly this year under his tenure, and will be desperate to erase the memory of their 31-30 loss against the Southern Kings on Saturday at home with a season ending win against a side that has dominated their conference this season.
While the Bulls have certainly lost their glitter in a season where they have been beaten four times in their seven home matches, Marais remains the ultimate optimist that his team will bring the curtain down on one of their worst seasons with a win to also usher the new dispensation under Mitchell.
“Obviously we know that it is not good enough, it is unacceptable. It is not that we take a loss and move on to the next game.
"Personally I take it very hard. It is never what we set out to do at the beginning of the season, we had big plans and obviously it is disappointing for the fans as well. It’s unacceptable to lose at Loftus and we know that there is change coming to Loftus and we know they are very disappointed, they should look to the future as well,” Marais said in the aftermath of their shock defeat at the hands of the Kings.
With the Stormers guaranteed a place in the play-offs after topping and winning their conference after putting away the Sunwolves on Saturday at Newlands, Marais believes his team have one more opportunity to show how good they actually are against a formidable Stormers side who will use Saturday’s derby as a dress rehearsal for their home play-off match.
“Obviously the Stormers are a good side, they are in the play-offs already and they should bring a full strength side. We will see on Monday what we should do and go from there,” Marais added.
As indifferent as the results have been for the Bulls this season and the hurt of losing to the Kings still a sore point, captain Adriaan Strauss has dubbed Saturday’s clash against the Stormers as the ultimate and final act for his team in restoring their dignity and giving hope to their long suffering supporters.
“It’s a massive game for us. We were really positive after the rest and we were very excited ahead of the Sharks game and this week before the Kings and we will be up for it next week as well. The excitement will be there and the work rate during the week will be there and we know what is coming, it will be a massive game. It is going to be a big game for us. This (Kings loss) does hurt so we will pick ourselves up on Monday,” said Strauss.