Marais a super fullback package
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.