FNB UP-Tuks started their season off with a laboured 23-6 win against FNB CUT but the former three time champions will need to improve across the board as they prepare for their next assignment, FNB UJ, in Round Two of the FNB Varsity Cup.
Marais is happy with the win against FNB CUT but believes that the competition is only going to get stronger as the tournament progresses.
"CUT are definitely improving year on year and if you look at our previous efforts against them then it's safe to say that they played a very good game."
"We knew they were going to be tough as they have bolstered their squad and improved their game plan to the point where they're not the whipping boys of the competition anymore."
"It all boils down to the fact that we need to improve greatly if we want to be title contenders. We need to score when we are in the position to do so which is something FNB UJ will punish us for."
I'm happy with the way we defended as we were under the pump by CUT quite a few times and we were really tested which bodes well when we meet the traditional powerhouses later in the competition."
There are a few changes to FNB UP-Tuks' match-day squad with prop Denver Prins being replaced after breaking his leg against FNB CUT while the other changes are tactical decisions including the selection of former Junior Springbok according to Marais.
"Unfortunately, we've lost Denver which is never nice. He threw everything into his preseason and now he's out but that is the nature of the game we all love. We have depth and JP has the goods to deliver," said Marais.
"Our other changes are based on the type of game we want to play in this trans Jukskei derby and we believe Vaughen and Ewart has the extra firepower we need. We've also included Super Rugby capped and former JuniorSpringbok lock, Ruan Nortje, who's experience is an added bonus," he added.
FNB UP-Tuks travel to the UJ Stadium to face FNB UJ on Monday, 11 February. Kick-off is 18:30.
FNB UP-Tuks: 15. Vaughen Isaacs, 14. Dewald Naude, 13. Erich Cronje, 12. Wian van Niekerk, 11. Ciaran Dayaram, 10. Tinus de Beer, 9. Theo Maree, 8. Denzil Hill, 7. Ewart Potgieter, 6. Stephan Smit, 5. Ruan Nortje, 4. Marius Verwey (C), 3. Jean-Pierre Smith, 2. Werner Fourie, 1. Etienne Janeke.
Replacements: 16. Llwellyn Classens, 17. Jacobus Eloff, 18. Bart le Roux, 19. Brian Leitch, 20. Romeo Eksteen, 21. Damian Bonaparte, 22. Irvin Ali, 23. Hanru Sirgel.