Vodacom Super 14
Plumtree: All pressure on Bulls
John Plumtree (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg – Sharks coach John Plumtree has stepped up the psychological warfare against the Bulls by claiming that all the pressure is on the Super 14 champions ahead of Saturday’s match at Loftus Versfeld.
“As log-leaders they have to win to ensure a home semi-final. That places a lot of pressure on them,” said Plumtree, who ruffled Bulls feathers earlier in the week with a claim that Ruan Pienaar is now the country’s top scrumhalf.
He admitted that the semi-finals are probably out of reach for his team.
“A lot will have to happen for us to qualify for the semi-finals. We’re not concerned about it and are just looking forward to the game against the old enemy,” said Plumtree.
“Things could have looked a lot different for us had we not struggled so much early on. All we can do now is to maintain the winning momentum of the last five games.”
Matches between these teams have been intense affairs ever since the 1990 Currie Cup final when Tony Watson scored his famous try to shock the Blue Bulls.
“The challenge of playing at Loftus always gets the best out of my players,” said Plumtree.
“We also get excellent support there, which is fantastic. Once again it’s going to be a matter of their strong runners and defenders against us.
“It’s going to be very physical and it will be interesting to see who remains standing at the end. The Bulls and Sharks bring the best out of each other.”
Plumtree is dumbfounded that the Bulls are criticised for their approach in spite of having scored 50 or more points on four occasions this year and scoring the most tries.
“They play with a lot of discipline. It’s part of their culture. Discipline is drilled into their make-up and you can put it down to Victor Matfield and Fourie du Preez leading the side,” he said.
Plumtree believes South African rugby is in good shape.
“The depth in South African rugby has definitely improved. There is a lot of competition for places in the Springbok team, which is wonderful.”