Mitchell 'coaching' Bulls via email

Thu, 29 Jun 2017 10:03

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: John Mitchell's arrival in Pretoria is still more than two weeks away, but his influence is already felt by the Bulls.

Mitchell, who was appointed as the Bulls' 'Executive of Rugby' back in May, will only arrive at Loftus Versfeld once he has completed his duties as United States coach - with a World Cup qualifier against Canada on Saturday, July 1.

After that he is off to a wedding in New Zealand and will formally step into the hot seat on July 16.

However, he has been in regular contact with current coach Nollis Marais.

Marais admitted they are discussing "certain points" in regards to the way forward.

"It is mostly through emails," Marais told a media briefing at Loftus, adding: "We talk a lot. There are certain things we are putting in place for the Currie Cup and Super Rugby next year.

"John [Mitchell] and I  have spoken about these things," Marais said, adding that the tempo of training was very high this week - as the Bulls stepped up preparations for Friday's encounter with the Sharks in Durban.

"There are certain things John and I feel are necessary going forward.

"We have started to change [some] things so that the guys can get used to it. We want to play like that in the Currie Cup as well."

Marais said the next three games are vital in the transition from also-rans to competition contenders.

"We can't really qualify [for the Super Rugby play-offs, unless there is an extraordinary series of results]. We need to get a full five points from each match and win by about 100 points.

"That is why it is important for us to get those things in place so the guys can get used to it. It should not be something new to the players in the Currie Cup.

"John and my philosophy [about the game][ is very similar. We believe that we have to defend in a certain way going forward and a certain way we must attack.

"To do that you have to put certain processes in place during the week, to maintain that tempo.

"The only [South African] team who can currently maintain that high tempo for 80 minutes is the Lions.

"That is the direction we have to move into. It will take time, that is why we are starting to implement it now.

"John and I are doing a lot of things we believe we are going to need going forward."

@rugby365com

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