Marais: Bulls' season has been ‘unacceptable’
REACTION: Bulls coach Nollis Marais knows his team's performances throughout the Super Rugby season have been below standard.
Their 30-31 loss to the Kings in Pretoria at the weekend added insult to injury in a miserable season.
The loss is the Pretoria-based franchise's 10th defeat in 14 games and their fourth defeat at Loftus Versfeld this season.
Loftus Versfeld was traditionally a fortress, but has become a place of doom and gloom for the three-time Super Rugby champions under the guidance of Marais.
The Loftus faithful can take heart from the mentor's acknowledgement that his side have to work really hard to regain fear factor that Loftus once held.
"We had big plans at the beginning of the season," Marais said.
"It doesn't matter what I'm going to say now, it will be turned in whichever way you want it to be turned," he told the media briefing.
"[We are] obviously disappointed. We have disappointed the fans and it is just unacceptable to lose at Loftus.
"It's not like we take a loss and just move onto the next game. Personally, I take it very hard, it's never what we planned at the beginning of the season," he added.
With John Mitchell's appointment as 'Executive of Rugby' at the Bulls in May and his formal introduction at the helm on July 16, this coming weekend's match against Stormers could be Marais' last one as Bulls Super Rugby coach at Loftus.
However, the coach was very reluctant to disclose his future involvement with the Super Rugby side.
"It is not about me, it is all about the team.
"Whether I'm going to be involved in Super Rugby next season, that is not my decision. It is John's decision," he said about Mitchell's arrival later this month.
"The only thing I can do is make sure they [the players] ready for the weekend's game [against the Stormers]," Marais explained.
Meanwhile, captain and hooker Adriaan Strauss added that his team owe it to their supporters to finish a disappointing season on a high note at Loftus.
"We will be up for it next weekend," Strauss said.
"The excitement will be there, the work rate throughout the week will definitely be there and we know what's coming.
"It's going to be a massive game.
"The Stormers also very physical just like the Kings [were], as well as being a good all around.
"The loss does hurt, so we will pick ourselves up on Monday," Strauss added.
By Josh Isaacson