Marais: Bulls will be ready for Sharks
REACTION: Bulls coach Nollis Marais is adamant his team will be able to raise their game for their Currie Cup crunch match with the Sharks.
Speaking to reporters after the Bulls made heavy weather of beating the Eastern Province Kings 49-35 in a high scoring Currie Cup encounter at Loftus Versfeld last Friday, the coach admitted his team needs to get back to the basics and improve on their all-round game if they are to challenge for top honours.
Marais said that he was happy to come away with five points from Loftus last week.
"We are not accurate enough and we are putting ourselves under pressure," Marais said.
"We can play well but we must be more accurate."
The Bulls face the Sharks at Kings Park Stadium in Durban this coming Saturday.
Marais said his team will need to pull together and put in a big performance if they are to be on the right end of the result against the 2013 Currie Cup champions.
"We are still in with a fighting chance at the moment," the Bulls' mentor said.
"We gave ourselves a fighting chance with five points at home but I think it's easier to motivate players when they play big unions but we shouldn't be like that.
"If a team deserves 80 points you must give them 80 points, so hopefully we have a big performance next week," Marais added.
Marais was full of praise for flyhalf Tian Schoeman and flank Ruan Steenkamp for their consistent good form in recent Currie Cup games for the Bulls.
"I think Schoeman is kicking very well at the moment.
"I think in three games he has missed just one kick - that is excellent.
"I'm also very proud of Ruan Steenkamp.
"He has played six games now and three in a row and he was brilliant each and every game.
"He didn't play Super Rugby and he was my captain in 2013. It's good that he comes through as well, so there were positive points if you look at how he played and Tian's work at the moment."
Captain Arno Botha added that the Bulls are creating many attacking opportunities.
However, they need to protect the ball and ensure that they do not concede possession cheaply.
"We are scoring tries but we are giving away the ball too much," Botha said.
"I think a perfect performance would be if we could keep the ball a bit more and not make so many mistakes."
The Bulls currently find themselves in a play-off position, as they sit in third place on the Currie Cup table - with 10 points from three games.
This includes two bonus point victories - against Western Province and the Eastern Province Kings - and a defeat against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.
By Josh Isaacson