Marais: Kings want to give the Bulls a hiding
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Bulls coach Nollis Marais believes that the Southern Kings are on a mission to give the Bulls a 'hiding' when the two teams clash in a Round 16 Super Rugby match-up in Pretoria on Saturday.
The Bulls head into the game against the Kings following a morale-boosting 30-17 victory over the Sharks in Durban last week, which was only their fourth win in 13 games played this season - leaving them in sixth place in the South African group, with 19 points.
The Kings, on the other hand, have been the surprise package of the 2017 Super Rugby season and they travel to Loftus sitting in fifth place in the South African group with 23 points from 13 matches played, which includes five wins and eight defeats.
The Kings secured a historic first ever win in Buenos Aires with a 31-30 victory over the Jaguares last week.
The recent announcement that the Kings have no immediate future in Super Rugby would have come as no surprise to team's players and coaching staff. However, the Kings will be even more motivated to set the record straight with victory over the Bulls, which would be their second ever Super Rugby victory over a South African team.
Speaking at the Bulls team announcement before the confirmation of which two South African teams would be axed from the 2018 Super Rugby tournament, Marais said that the Kings will come to Loftus with plenty of confidence and with a 'point to prove'.
"I think they [Kings] playing really good rugby the whole season. They've travelled well, they playing good as a team and Deon Davids [Southern Kings head coach] has done well with the side.
"They want to come here and give us a hiding and we expect that. They might not play Super Rugby next year, so they want to prove a point," Marais said.
Marais mentioned the likes of Kings captain and flyhalf Lionel Cronje, flank Chris Cloete, scrumhalf Louis Schreuder and wing Makazole Mapimpi as the danger men for the visitors and made mention that Kings lock Irne Herbst will be looking to put in a big performance against the team who he will be representing in the 2017 Currie Cup.
"Chris Cloete has had an excellent season, but he had a couple of good seasons already. He was rewarded with the SA 'A' side - he played well there.
"Mapimpi has been playing excellent rugby, Lionel Cronje has been excellent, Louis Schreuder moved from Western Province to there [Southern Kings] and he is playing really well," commented Marais.
By Josh Isaacson