Mitchell's Bulls lose two more stars
INJURY UPDATE: John Mitchell will start his stint as the main on-field coach of the Blue Bulls with a few selection posers to solve.
The former All Black coach, Mitchell, formally took charge of the Bulls Currie Cup team on Monday - in the wake of Sunday's coaching clean-out.
Nollis Marais has been placed on paid leave until the end of the Currie Cup competition, with his long-term future still uncertain.
Marais was not the only casualty - with backline coach David Manuel and forwards coach Anton Leonard both demoted to the union's Under-21 team.
The dramatic development came after the Bulls' third successive loss of the season.
After wins over Griquas (51-45) and the Golden Lions (54-22), the Bulls stumbled against the Sharks (20-28), Western Province (34-45) and Free State Cheetahs (40-41).
While Marais remains on the Bulls' payroll for now, there is no guaranteed that he will be around after October.
However, the revamping of his coaching team is not Mitchell's only headache.
The Bulls have a few injury concerns after their loss to the Cheetahs last Saturday.
Shaun Adendorff and Irne Herbst both suffered knee injuries and will consult specialists - ahead of Friday's trip to Nelspruit and a Round Seven encounter with the Pumas.
It has been a recurring problem for Herbst and a decision regarding the rest of his season will be made in due course.
Burger Odendaal also injured his knee against the Cheetahs.
Adendorff and Odendaal will in all likelihood not be available for selection this week.
Bulls team doctor Herman Rossouw said Travis Ismaiel and Roelof Smit will be out for another two to three weeks, while Jaco Visagie will be available for selection in a week or two.
Players returning from injury this week include Ulrich Beyers, Johannes Prinsloo, Warrick Gelant and Duncan Matthews.
Gelant left the field against the Cheetahs with a knee niggle and sat out training on Monday, but was expected to join Matthews and the rest of the team on the training field on Tuesday.