Marais a su­per full­back pack­age

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - WYNONA LOUW

SP MARAIS may have strug­gled to make a proper state­ment with the Bulls, but after sign­ing with the Storm­ers he might just get to make one good enough to se­cure the full­back jersey.

With Ch­es­lin Kolbe bid­ding farewell to the Storm­ers and Western Prov­ince at the end of this Su­per Rugby sea­son, Marais has a real shot.

The 27-year-old wasn’t the first choice when it came to the No 15 po­si­tion with three­time Su­per Rugby win­ners the Bulls, and he didn’t get to clock up the min­utes and ap­pear­ances he would have liked. But with Kolbe’s time with the Storm­ers com­ing to an end, the ex­pe­ri­enced Marais can de­ter­mine his own fu­ture in Cape Town.

Last year, Kolbe had a rather dis­ap­point­ing sea­son dur­ing which he robbed fans of his typ­i­cally ex­cit­ing, at­tack-from-the-back ap­proach and in­stead sub­sti­tuted it with aim­less down-the-throat kick­ing and hes­i­tant at­tack­ing play from the back.

He some­times looked as if he did not know what to do with the ball and his hes­i­tant play of­ten saw him be­ing taken down be­fore he could even cre­ate any­thing.

But re­gard­less of how Kolbe per­formed last year, it’s a good thing that the Storm­ers have thrown out their net to catch for­mer Shark Marais, who joins a group of new sign­ings, in­clud­ing Som­er­set West­born hooker Ra­mone Sa­muels from the Lions, Pi­eter-Steph du Toit’s younger brother Jo­han, flank Stephan de Wit, also from the Lions, and Dan Kriel, Spring­bok Jesse’s twin brother.

Marais’ sign­ing will not only pro­vide back-up for Kolbe this year, but his pres­ence also al­lows the Cape side to bring some­one into the sys­tem who can be a real op­tion at No 15 after the in­cum­bent.

Of course, there is also Jaco Taute, whose out­ings last year were less than en­thu­si­as­tic.

He dis­ap­pointed in many matches with fum­bled catches at the back, poor kick­ing and de­ci­sion-mak­ing and, of course, he didn’t come close to pos­ing the at­tack­ing threat that Kolbe did.

Marais, who has also had a stint at the Kings, can add a lot to the Storm­ers with his aerial abil­i­ties, strong run­ning and ac­cu­rate pass­ing.

His solid boot has strongly aided the Sharks and the Bulls’ long kick­ing game and he can surely add some de­cent depth to the full­back po­si­tion.

So, as Cape Town bids farewell to Kolbe, Storm­ers fans will be hop­ing Marais can make the full­back po­si­tion his own, just like Kolbe did.

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