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'It is not easy being criticised every week and the players know that as well‚' says Bulls coach Marais

By Mahlatse Mphahlele | 2017-05-18 16:08:43.0

Increasingly pressured Bulls coach Nollis Marais has issued an impassioned plea to the side's supporters to give his struggling young side more time to gel as a unit.

Marais and his players have come under stinging criticism from their fans and even from the opposition following a disastrous Super Rugby campaign that has seen them win only three out of ten matches this year.

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During their struggles‚ the Bulls became the first South African franchise to lose to the Sunwolves and they also suffered a record 62-24 loss to the Crusaders two weeks ago.

They travel to Ellis Park on Saturday afternoon as underdogs to take on the high-flying Lions.

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The Lions are on a five-match unbeaten run and they are leading the South African Group with 46 points from 11 starts.

“It is not easy being criticised every week and the players know that as well‚" Marais said.

"It has been a tough couple of weeks but we are focusing on getting ready for this weekend against the Lions.

"There are still five more games left in the competition.

“I was a Blulls fan all my life and if they did not play well‚ I was not happy about it.

"I fully understand the frustrations of the supporters because they are passionate people.

"The only thing I ask from them is their support and stay behind this young team.

"The team never goes out to play badly and if you look at the amount of the youngsters who are playing here at the moment they will come good down the line.”

Marais said the players take responsibility for the situation that the team finds itself in at the moment and they are determined to turn things around in the remaining matches.

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“We take responsibility for where we are at the moment.

"We didn’t play good rugby this year.

"We were not up for it and we were not consistent.

"Apart from that‚ we always said that it was going to be a young side this season and 90% of these guys have never played against New Zealand sides.

"We knew from the beginning that this was going to be a tough year.

"I obviously did not think that it was going to be this tough‚ but a lot of these guys will go on to win a lot of Super Rugby matches.

"It is not an excuse but they are very young and I believe that they are going to be an excellent side next season.

"They know that we did not (always) play good rugby and also know what is the plan going forward.

"For them to go forward‚ they must stay in their positions and be supported by the fans because that will help them with confidence‚” he said. - TMG Digital/TMG Sport