Bulls boss Nollis Marais has defended South Africa coach Allister Coetzee’s decision to name Adriaan Strauss as his captain for 2016.
Strauss’ form has dipped significantly in 2016 and he has been heavily criticised since Coetzee named him as Springbok captain ahead of the three-Test series against Ireland in June.
Calls for the Bulls stalwart to relinquish the Bok captaincy, and to be dropped, has grown in South Africa after the Boks suffered a 26-24 defeat to Argentina in Salta last weekend.
But Marais is adament that Strauss, who is also the Bulls’ Super Rugby captain, is being blamed unfairly as he is not being afforded the same luxury of time as his predecessors
“Yes, I think so (he is undervalued),” he told IOL.
“There are a lot of players making individual errors in the side that’s putting the team under pressure and he has to take the brunt for it.
“Unfortunately, your captain and coach take a lot of brunt for individual errors and I think if one or two guys didn’t make mistakes, then we would have seen a different result.
“It is (Strauss’) fifth game as captain and we should give him the opportunity that we’ve given previous guys to find their feet and a team to build together.”
Marais urged Coetzee to continue with Strauss in the leadership role for the remaider of the Rugby Championship as well as the end-of-year tour to Europe.
“I think we should stick with him, give him the backing and there is still a lot of rugby to be played,” he added.
“He’s been excellent for our side this season when we were going through some tough times. He picked up his hand and stood up and he was the main reason in helping rebuild the Bulls who had 14 guys making their debuts in Super Rugby this year.
“He’s an excellent captain and he must be given the opportunity and at the end of the year, if they don’t think he is the right guy, then the coaching staff will make a decision. But I can promise you, he is an excellent captain.”