Is reshuf­fling on the cards at the Bulls?

CityPress - - Sport - SIMNIKIWE XABANISA sports@city­press.co.za

The Bulls have de­nied that they are reshuf­fling to shore up their Su­per Rugby coach­ing staff after less than sat­is­fac­tory re­sults in this year’s tour­na­ment.

So far the Bulls, who were on a bye this week­end, have won just three of their eight games.

This has been a mas­sive set­back in a rugby sea­son which saw them start off with high ex­pec­ta­tions.

The three-time Su­per Rugby cham­pi­ons have ap­peared to fall between two schools of thought when play­ing: staying true to the old val­ues which got them the three ti­tles and adopt­ing a ball-in-hand ap­proach. An in­sider, who spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity, said changes were afoot to beef up a young coach­ing team, with Su­perS­port Rugby Chal­lenge coach Pote Hu­man com­ing in as for­wards coach, while the rugby union would go look­ing for a back­line coach.

The ca­su­al­ties of the move are sup­posed to be for­mer Bulls cap­tain An­ton Leonard and for­mer Bulls full back David Manuel, who would step down to the Rugby Chal­lenge team.

But Bulls chief ex­ec­u­tive Barend van Graan de­nied that the changes would come into ef­fect, even though two of­fi­cials from the union un­der­stand that to be the case.

“The Blue Bulls com­pany is in con­tin­u­ous dis­cus­sion with the Vo­da­com Bulls head coach, Nol­lis Marais, to get the de­sired per­for­mance from the Bulls, keep­ing in mind the min­i­mum dis­rupt­ing (sic) of the team and team man­age­ment,” Van Graan said via What­sApp.

“There are no changes to the man­age­ment team, but all op­tions to im­prove the per­for­mance of the Bulls will be con­sid­ered in con­sul­ta­tion with the coach.

“We are not go­ing to re­spond to spec­u­la­tion and will make an an­nounce­ment if nec­es­sary.”

Ac­cord­ing to our source, Hu­man, who was in Namibia yesterday with the Blue Bulls side to play the Wel­witschias in the Rugby Chal­lenge com­pe­ti­tion, is sup­posed to join the se­nior Bulls side this week, while the search for the back­line coach is wide open.

For­mer Free State cap­tain and eighth man Hu­man has had some suc­cess as Bulls head coach, after win­ning the shared Cur­rie Cup ti­tle in 2006 with the Chee­tahs, when Heyneke Meyer took a break from coach­ing after Su­per Rugby.

Asked if there was any truth to spec­u­la­tion that the Bulls had reached out to for­mer All Blacks coach Wayne Smith re­cently, Van Graan down­graded the sta­tus of the chat with this terse reply: “The Bulls’ head coach and mem­bers of his man­age­ment team had an in­for­mal dis­cus­sion on coach­ing mat­ters with Wayne Smith dur­ing the team’s visit to New Zealand.”

PHOTO: LEE WARREN / GALLO IM­AGES

IN THE PIC­TURE Pote Hu­man has been tipped to join the Vo­da­com Bulls as for­wards coach

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