Vodacom Blue Bulls coach, Nollis Marais, will take over the role as head coach of the Vodacom Bulls at the start of the 2016 Super Rugby season.
The current Absa Currie Cup, and former Vodacom Cup and U21 head coach will assume the Vodacom Bulls coaching reins.
“Nollis is a stern testament of a true Blue Bulls man, he has coached at every level within the union, from schoolboy level right up to his current position as Currie Cup head coach. I am more than satisfied that we have appointed the best coach to take over the reins of the Vodacom Bulls,” said BBRU President, Gert Wessels.
“Nollis is more than familiar with our systems, and has built a respectable record and reputation over the past couple of seasons since he has been with the BBCo. His knowledge, paired with his vision and innovation, will stand us in good stead for the future.”
Having guided the Vodacom Blue Bulls U21 side to three titles over the past four seasons, two Varsity Cup gold medals with UP-Tuks, and since taking over the reins as Vodacom Cup head coach in 2013, Marais has lead the team to the play off stages in all three seasons.
The 43-year-old Marais made a brave and bold decision back in 2007 to quit his full time job as a senior logistics planner and pursue his passion to become a full time professional coach. This left him without an income and he had to take out a mortgage on his house to ensure he was able to fulfill his commitments.
Speaking about Marais’ appointment, John Newbury, Chairman of the BBCo Board said: “Nollis has the full support and backing of the board, and we have peace of mind that he is the right man for the job. This has been a thorough process and we can now start to look to the future. We know he won’t leave any stone unturned as he strives to take the Vodacom Bulls back to the top.”
“Nollis was always on my mind in terms of potential candidates and it’s a massive coup that we have appointed one of our own, a coach that has been brought through our system. His coaching credentials and achievements speak for themselves,” Barend van Graan, CEO of the BBCo said.
“Nollis has a sound knowledge of the business, and he is well aware of all the challenges. He is a man to embrace those challenges and ensure that with innovative thinking, planning and sound preparation we will achieve success. He has worked with most of the players within our system and in a short period of time already implemented a lot of changes, and managed to turn the tide during the Absa Currie Cup. Nollis will now be able to add even more value in his new position - both in terms of pushing for trophies, and more importantly, in helping the continued development of our coaches and players,” van Graan added.
Marais commented: “I am a coach that enjoys a challenge and I see this job as a huge challenge, but one that excites me tremendously. I will do everything in my power to ensure the Vodacom Bulls remain among the pace setters of world rugby.”
Marais who has been given a four year contract, said it is humbling to be able to coach the Vodacom Bulls.
“The team must always be accessible to the people and the fans. This team belongs to them and without their support we won’t be able to do what we love. I need every player, supporter and employee to assist me in making this the best team in the world. This will however not be an easy task and most definitely not a fairytale to immediate success.”
“This is a dream come true, the most special and memorable moment of my career thus far, it has always been my biggest dream to be head coach of the Vodacom Bulls. I would like to thank each and every individual that has played a part in my life, and that has assisted me in getting to this point.”
Van Graan, meanwhile, also confirmed that the remainder of the coaching teams will be announced during the course of next week.