The Blue Bulls Company (Pty) Ltd and the Blue Bulls Company Board of Directors in a statement on Saturday confirmed a number of coaching changes to the Bulls and Blue Bulls structures with regards to the Currie Cup 2015 season and the Super Rugby season in 2016. The Board of Directors indicated that Frans Ludeke will step down from his position as Super Rugby and Currie Cup Head Coach with immediate effect. Discussions with Ludeke about his future is ongoing as well as the process to appoint a new Head Coach for Super Rugby 2016.
An announcement will be made as soon as this has been finalised. The Blue Bulls Company Board of Directors also confirmed a decision in February 2015 to extend the contract of CEO, Barend Van Graan until January 2019. The Blue Bulls Company (Pty) Ltd also announced the appointment of Nollis Marais as new head coach of theB lue Bulls for the 2015 Absa Currie Cup season with immediate effect.
The 43-year old Marais said of his appointment: ‘This is a dream come true for me and something I have always wanted to do and worked towards in the various Blue Bulls structures. I would like to thank John Newbury, Chairman of the Board as well as other directors, the BBRU and president Gert Wessels and also the BBC and CEO, Barend Van Graan for their confidence in me to take over this important position. I would also like to thank Frans Ludeke, Johann Van Graan and Heyneke Meyer who served as mentors to me.’ Marais, an accredited IRB (World Rugby) level 3 coach, has been involved with coaching at all levels in the union, starting his coaching career way back in 2003 as Under-15 coach of Overkruin High School in Pretoria. He has progressed through the ranks and in recent years coached UP-Tuks in the Varsity Cup (2010-15), the Blue Bulls Under-21’s (2011-2015) and the Blue Bulls Vodacom Cup team (2013-15), winning the Varsity Cup and Under-21 Provincial Championship on his way to becoming the new Currie Cup coach.
He will meet with the various stakeholders soon and promises total commitment and passion to make sure the Blue Bulls continue as one of the most successful teams in the history of the Currie Cup. He says: ‘We will have a change in approach in the way we do things and play the game and I am excited about the mixture of talent we have between the youngsters in our system and the senior players. I have worked with all but five of the players in our squad before, so I’m very keen to continue in my efforts to assist them in becoming the best players they can be.’ Marais called on the Blue Bulls supporters and sponsors to rally behind the team, saying: ‘Every player and member of management will leave nothing out there on the field in our effort to make you proud of us. We can only succeed with all your support, but will earn it the hard way, by delivering on the field.’