Sharks want to avoid Stormers
John Plumtree (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - Sharks coach John Plumtree has revealed the real reason why they decided not to play in the Neo Africa Tri-Series.
Plumtree admitted to the Beeld
newspaper they want to avoid the Stormers as they don't want to face a team they're due to play early in the season proper.
The Sharks will face Stormers at Newlands in their second Super Rugby clash of the season on 3 March.
They were scheduled to join the Cape side and the Lions in the Neo Africa Series at the end of January but last week suddenly withdrew
their invitation. The Cheetahs will now join the Stormers and the Lions in the competition.
"We're playing our second Super Rugby match against the Stormers in Cape Town. I'm not really a big believer in playing a pre-season game against a team you're due to play so early in a tournament," said Plumtree.
Plumtree also claims far too much importance is being attached to the Neo Africa Series in Cape rugby circles.
"For us it's mainly about getting combinations right and winning those games isn't everything. That tournament never really worked for us."
Plumtree also revealed that Springbok Pat Lambie will be mainly utilised at flyhalf during the Super Rugby tournament. He will fight it out with Frenchman Frederic Michalak for the No 10 jersey. Michalak has signed a new deal with French club Toulon but Plumtree says he should be available for most of the campaign.
The Sharks will name their captain next week, with Bok hooker Bismarck du Plessis deemed a big favourite.
The Sharks will play friendly matches against Boland on 10 February and the EP Kings on 17 February before they start their Super Rugby campaign on 24 February against the Bulls in Pretoria.