Nollis Marais is the Bulls’ head coach and is not going anywhere – at least in the short-term – franchise CEO Barend van Graan confirmed on Thursday.
Pressure is mounting on the Bulls and their management, with their poor results – just one win from six matches – dragging them into the discussion about which two South African franchises should get the chop for next year’s Super Rugby competition.
But Van Graan said on Thursday that as disappointing as the results have been, the franchise is requesting their supporters to be patient.
“We’ve got a head coach, Nollis Marais, and he has our support. But we have had serious talks with the coach, some of the coaching team and some players. I must stress that we are all as disappointed as the fans with the results. But I can’t promise anything about this weekend except that we will try our hardest to enhance our performance,” Van Graan said at Loftus Versfeld on Thursday.
Apart from their on-field struggles, the Bulls have also been in the news for supposed financial difficulties.
Van Graan admitted that there is pressure on their finances but certainly not to the extent suggested by weekend reports, which he described as “mistaken”.
“In last year’s annual report I said we are under pressure and when you manage a business like the Bulls then you have to balance your revenue, which you need to increase, with your expenses, which are player costs. But we have an advance plan, although there is only a limited amount of cash we can spend and we must balance that between marquee players and youngsters.
“And as a country, South Africa as a whole is under economic pressure. Overseas clubs have realised they can go for younger guys now, they are professional athletes so it will happen. But winning Super Rugby in 2018 is still our goal, it might not happen but there’s nothing wrong with the talent we have or the effort we’re putting in,” Van Graan said.
He admitted, however, that the anger and frustration felt by the fans was an appropriate response.
“There’s a lot of disappointment and a lot of questions among our supporters and a lot of suggestions about where we need to go to. But it’s important that the board, the management, the coach, captain and players, who are all under an immense amount of pressure, keep perspective, they need to know where this is coming from.”