PRETORIA – There is nothing more refreshing than the frankness with which hookers speak.
Blue Bulls hooker Edgar Marutlulle is one such character and while not speaking out of turn in his media interview this week, the former Potchefstroom Boys’ High School pupil was honest enough to reveal that winning the Currie Cup is not the be all and end all for his team.
Not to say that it is not important for the the team to get their hands on a trophy they last won nine years ago but Marutlulle says the process of getting there is the one that is of paramount focus for the Bulls.
“To be honest, we have never spoken once about winning this competition. For us it’s been about a lot of improvement and process stuff. We have not spoken about winning, it is about making sure we improve in every facet and we are stringent about that. The result will take care of itself, it sounds cliché but ja,” Marutlulle said.
Marutlulle, who has won the Currie Cup with the Golden Lions in 2011, wants the Bulls to follow John Mitchell’s blueprint in making sure they do the small things right first and then they will lead to them getting the ultimate prize.
“I think we are on the way. If you look at the Lions, I was exactly at the same place, in 2010 and 2011 with (Mitchell) and we won the Currie Cup and went on to get better in 2012 and 2013 and were in the mix. Like the Hansel and Gretel story, the bread crumbs are there and you see them. If we start following the bread crumbs, we’ll be heading in the right direction and get to the house,” added Marutlulle.
And the men in blue may have taken a small step in starting the season well with a win against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein last Friday but beating the Sharks in Durban in Saturday will be a giant leap in their ambitions.
Faced with an extremely challenging and tough start to the competition with two away games against a potent Cheetahs side and last year’s losing finalists in the Sharks, Marutlulle is hopeful that the confidence gained from beating the Cheetahs will be carried over to Durban.
“It gives us a lot of confidence. Even before the game we knew the Cheetahs would probably be one of the strongest teams in the competition. That win is a good stepping stone for us and we’ll see what the rest of the season brings for us,” said Marutlulle.
“They are two of the toughest teams and if we can do well this weekend, it will put us at ease going forward.”
Meanwhile, the Blue Bulls have confirmed contract extensions for Springboks Warrick Gelant (until 2020) and Embrose Papier (2021). Conraad van Vuuren (2020), Johnny Kotze (2020), Junior Springboks Ruan Nortje (until 2020) and Mornay Smith (until 2020) have also extended their stay at Loftus Versfeld.
Junior Springboks prop Alulutho Tshakweni has signed a short term deal with the union, while utility back Ulrich Beyers has been released to join the Kings and loose forward Abongile Nonkontwana is on trial at the Cheetahs.