Veteran hooker Schalk Brits says he has been encouraged by the pre-season structures that are being put in place at the Vodacom Bulls, writes CRAIG LEWIS.
Brits is one of several new recruits who have joined up with the Bulls for the 2019 Vodacom Super Rugby, with the Pretoria-based side set to kick off their campaign against the Stormers on 16 February.
It will mark the start of a new era for the Bulls, with Pote Human having finally been confirmed as the Super Rugby head coach towards the end of last year, while the appointments of assistants Chris Rossouw, Pine Pienaar and Anton Leonard were announced earlier this month.
Brits told SARugbymag.co.za that expectations would naturally need to be tempered as the Bulls are heading into a rebuilding phase, but he insisted that there was certainly cause for cautious optimism.
‘At the start of a new season, everyone is positive. But obviously Pote and the coaching staff have been appointed quite late, and so, to be honest, there is a little bit of catch-up that is required in terms of getting used to the structures and defensive systems we will be enforcing. It will take a bit of time, but we are putting in the extra hours to get there as quickly as possible.’
Brits said one of the encouraging aspects of the Bulls’ pre-season regime was that players were being empowered to drive the team in a new direction.
‘Pote is a great manager of character, and from a players’ perspective there is real buy-in. I feel one of the problems in South African rugby is that players have sometimes been spoonfed too much, and the coaches have to put in a lot of work.
‘But when things are going wrong on the field, you can’t ask the coach what to do. You need to be able to problem-solve on the pitch. So you have to give ownership and responsibility to the players, and that’s what the Bulls are looking to do, with of course the coaches overseeing everything.’