Marais: NZ teams can come

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 08:56

SUPER RUGBY REACTION: Bulls coach Nollis Marais has laid down a challenge to his New Zealand opponents when they make the trek to Loftus Versfeld in Round 11 of the competition.

Marais made the remark with the premise that it is difficult to play at the Pretoria stadium after his side's narrow 20-14 over the Cheetahs.

"New Zealand teams can come here because Loftus is a different venue. I know they [New Zealand teams] are outstanding teams but the players believe they can do anything. They believe in each other and that is important to me," Marais said.

While Marais believes he has world class backline players, they have not been able to showcase what they are capable of because their pack of forwards are yet to pitch up.

"I don't think our forwards are pitching up. We are not getting good ball from them and are not allowing our back to attack. We are better with ball-in-hand, we are dangerous and have the players to do that," he added.

The Bulls will now enjoy a bye week before hosting the Crusaders on May 6.

"We need to put up an 80-minute performance but regardless of not doing that [against the Cheetahs], they stuck to their guns and fought to the end. We didn't play well in the first half but our second half was much better with ball-in-hand. 

"Luckily we pulled it off at the end as the bench pulled the game through for us. I think this break has come at a good time for us because we have a lot of players returning from injury," he stated.

Marais has identified a key area of their game that needs to simply requires self-belief in order to execute it properly.

"We to have trust and belief in ourselves that we can run the ball and not kick it away each time we feel a little bit of pressure. We are good when we carry the ball and are much better when we do that. The players just need to trust in it," Marais said.

@rugby365com

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 26 May 2017
Blues v Chiefs 07h45 Auckland
Reds v Force 09h45 Suncorp Stadium
Sat, 27 May 2017
Sunwolves v Cheetahs 05h15 Tokyo
Highlanders v Waratahs 07h35 Dunedin
Rebels v Crusaders 09h45 Melbourne
Bulls v Hurricanes 13h05 Loftus Versfeld
Wasps v Exeter Chiefs 13h30 London
Sharks v Stormers 15h15 Kings Park
Munster v Scarlets 17h15 Dublin
Jaguares v Brumbies 21h40 Buenos Aires
Sun, 28 May 2017
Lions v Kings 12h30 Ellis Park Stadium
Wed, 31 May 2017
England U20 v Samoa U20 07h00 Tbilisi
New Zealand U20 v Scotland U20 07h00 AIA Arena
South Africa U20 v France U20 09h30 Tbilisi
Ireland U20 v Italy U20 09h30 AIA Arena
Argentina U20 v Georgia U20 12h00 Tbilisi
Australia U20 v Wales U20 14h30 Tbilisi
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Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 11 4 0 7 23
Waratahs 11 4 0 7 19
Reds 11 3 0 8 16
Force 11 3 0 8 13
Rebels 11 1 1 9 8
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 12 12 0 0 54
Hurricanes 11 9 0 2 43
Chiefs 11 9 0 2 43
Highlanders 12 9 0 3 41
Blues 12 6 0 6 31
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 11 7 0 4 30
Bulls 11 3 0 8 15
Cheetahs 12 2 0 10 11
Sunwolves 11 1 0 10 7
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 12 11 0 1 51
Sharks 12 8 1 3 38
Jaguares 11 5 0 6 24
Kings 11 4 0 7 19