PRETORIA - The Bulls have spoken to All Blacks assistant coach Wayne Smith, Chiefs head coach Dave Rennie and Springboks assistant coaches Johann van Graan and Matthew Proudfoot.
However, none of them will be taking up the reins of the team at the conclusion of Super Rugby as weekend reports would have suggested with Rennie.
As much as incumbent Bulls coach Nollis Marais and his management staff are under immense pressure with the team only winning one out of their five matches so far in Super Rugby, the Blue Bulls Company moved swiftly to allay any fears that there would be a change of management upon the team’s return from their tour or after the competition.
The Bulls have endured their worst start to a Super Rugby season since winning their third and last title in 2010 but this is also their toughest start with five of their six matches being away from their home Loftus Versfeld.
In a statement released late on Sunday evening, the BBC confirmed that Rennie and Smith had an information session with Marais and his coaching staff along with Van Graan and Proudfoot as well.
“We have used various consultants where needed and upon request from our coaching staff. This is nothing new and our head coach and high performance manager (Xander Janse Van Rensburg) has initiated a number of visits by consultants to advise and assist,” said BBC chief executive officer Barend van Graan.
The Bulls have also sought the leadership skills of Proteas ODI captain AB de Villiers and Owen Eastwood, an advisor to the Proteas, about culture in a team environment.
De Villiers has been one of the players at the heart of the national men’s cricket team’s concept of Protea Fire, which was the brain child of former captain Graeme Smith and has been the catalyst to the success the Proteas enjoyed on the field as the number one Test team for several years.
Even though Marais and his coaching staff of Anton Leonard (forwards), David Manuel (backs) and Pine Pienaar (defence) are off the hook for now, they will need to come up with an effective turnaround strategy for the team ahead of their final tour match against the Sunwolves and before returning home where they will face the strongest teams in the competition.
The Bulls presence in Tokyo could also be a blessing in disguise as they are set to meet up with former coach Frans Ludeke who brought them Super Rugby silverware in 2009 and 2010 and former Springbok defence coach John McFarland who was involved in all of the Bulls Super Rugby winning teams.
Ludeke and McFarland are now involved with Kubota Spears who have some former Bulls players Lappies Labuschagne, Grant Hattingh and Louis Fouche while Springbok and Lions flank Jaco Kriel and centre Lionel Mapoe also play for them.
The Bulls will need all the advice and assistance they can get as they look to secure another win over the Sunwolves after the weekend’s defeat at the hands of the Chiefs.
As intimate as Ludeke and McFarland’s knowledge of Japanese rugby will be, the Bulls will know that they could easily become the first South African side to succumb to the Sunwolves after their unconvincing 34-21 win at Loftus three weeks ago.
Making the Bulls mission even more desperate is the spate of injuries that continue to hit the team with Springbok scrumhalf Piet van Zyl, loose forward Arno Botha, prop Conraad van Vuuren returning home while Martin Dreyer, Jacques Potgieter, Ivan van Zyl and Franco Naude will join the team in Tokyo.