Bok defence guru helps Sharks

    2013-01-28 22:23
    Cape Town - Springbok defence coach John McFarland spent a few sessions with the Sharks over the past week as they prepare for the Super Rugby season.

    Coach John Plumtree told the Sharks' website McFarland's input was invaluable.

    “He has had a lot of experience coaching at a top level for a long time, he’s a specialist in defence and we wanted to pick his brains, to make use of his knowledge this week. It’s a good change for the boys with some fresh ideas.

    “It’s important that we adopt the philosophy of sharing information from the Springbok management to us which will also give John a better idea of our players by working with us. We’re able to open up the working relationship with the Springbok coaches, starting with him," said Plumtree.

    This is part of a new initiative by the Springboks to lend a helping hand to the South African franchises and sharing ideas.

    Utilising external personnel has always been embraced by the Sharks' coaching staff, with former All Black Carlos Spencer also helping out with the Sharks backs over the last few weeks.

    Spencer, who was an influential figure as John Mitchell's assistant at the Lions, has been spending some time in an advisory capacity in Durban.

    "The players have really enjoyed having Carlos here," said Plumtree.

    “I’d like him here a little longer - he’s not here for the whole tournament - he has family back in Joburg. But he will help us through the course of the season, he’ll see how we go and he’ll come down periodically.

    "He will be good for not only our flyhalves but also our backs, he’ll also be working on our kicking game. But really, he’s just touched the surface of what I want from him.”

    The Sharks play a pre-season friendly against the Leopards next week, followed by another warm-up against the Pumas the following week. They start their Super Rugby campaign away to the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on February 23.

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