Blue Bulls head coach John Mitchell has reportedly requested NZD$10,000,000 (R90,000,000) from the Bulls board of directors in order to compete in the recruitment market for high-end talent, according to Rapport newspaper.
Mitchell is concerned with the lack of depth in the Bulls squad, and the damage that is being done by playing youngsters too early in Super Rugby.
“We need to stop exposing youngsters to this competition too quickly and relying on youngsters who just can’t handle this competition, [while also] relying on a handful of Test players and expect them to last the full season,’ he said earlier this season.
“We have got a very good process and very good systems.
“We are going to have to recruit. It is as simple as that. We are going to have to change our mindset from quantity to quality and create two teams of Super Rugby quality to be able to manage workloads and injuries.
The Bulls are reportedly targeting Springbok number eight Duane Vermeulen, retired hooker Schalk Brits, Frans Malherbe, Jean-Luc du Preez and Wandisile Simelane to bolster the quality of the squad. They recently missed out on the signature of Lions flanker Cyle Brink, who was reportedly close to joining the side.
Mitchell, who doubles as the executive of rugby, wants complete control of the high-performance programme and buy-in from the Board of Directors on his strategy. He refused a contract extension earlier this year to extend past the 2019 season and could use that as leverage until his demands are met. He is also after a full-time defence coach for next year’s Super Rugby season.
Members of the board are reportedly not happy with the request after this year’s performance. The Bulls finished the Super Rugby season in 12th position overall, with six wins and 10 losses coming in last in the South African conference.
In other news:
Sign up to our mailing list here and we’ll keep you up to the minute with weekly updates from the world of rugby.