Sign-up for the latest, breaking news!


    Plum: Most exciting Sharks ever

    2012-07-28 22:13
    John Plumtree (Gallo Images)

    Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer

    Cape Town – The Sharks set off on their “Mission Impossible” on Sunday to try to win the Super Rugby final for the first time, buoyed by the confidence in his 2012 personnel expressed by coach John Plumtree.

    A gleeful Chiefs side lies in wait on Saturday for the Hamilton showpiece, no doubt delighted at not having to make the gruelling trek themselves to Cape Town after the Stormers just came up short once more in the gripping all-South African semi-final at Newlands on Saturday.

    It is a murderous yo-yo for the Sharks from a travel point of view, as they had only returned a few days ago from knocking over defending champions the Reds in Brisbane and now face the long haul again.

    They are boxing as clever as they possibly can – the squad will set up camp in the relaxing environs of Coogee Beach, Sydney, some three quarters of the way to their Waikato destination, before proceeding onward to the Land of the Long White Cloud on Thursday.

    Asked about the daunting prospect of returning to Australasia so soon, Plumtree said at Saturday’s after-match press conference: “I know personally the jet lag when travelling there is terrible; I have to take sleeping tablets most nights for a week!

    “But the players are younger and they get over it quicker; it’s not ideal but we will try to prepare smartly and get these boys back up: we’re representing South Africa now.

    “We just want to get them in beds as quickly as possible in Sydney and also do some preparation there, try to get some freshness back before going to New Zealand.”

    What cannot be disputed is that the Sharks boast a heartening head of steam after several weeks of landing impressive wins.
    “We gathered confidence and grew a bit at the same time ... it snowballed,” explained Plumtree.

     “The team started believing in themselves about 20 to 30 percent more than when we were playing before the international break.

    “We were already playing knockout rugby, basically, several weeks ago so it hardened us, and the leadership grew with that.

    “To go to Queensland and win last week and then come here to do it again was always going to be a huge task for any side – I’m really proud of how the boys have stood up.

    “You could see the guys getting tired towards the end here, and the subs had a crucial role to play.

    “It’s great to be giving a winning speech (after the semi) but we have also had some pain getting here, to this point.

    “I just think this team is getting more balanced all the time. Over the past couple of years we’ve gone through times where we haven’t had a ten, or haven’t had a midfield, or struggled for depth in certain areas – we’re starting to get that right now even if there are one or two positions still to tinker with.

    “I’m more excited about the backs ... you look at (Francois) Steyn, Jordaan, (Tim) Whitehead; depth there now. And I still think Pat Lambie is a ten, so we’ll work hard on him when Freddie (Michalak) leaves.

    “The backs are there, and the pack’s pretty good. I’m more excited about this team than I ever have been, I reckon.”

    Asked just how firmly he believed the Sharks could defy the hefty travel disadvantage and win the final, Plumtree responded: “I guess you guys will decide that! I mean, it would be amazing ... flying there, flying back here, than back again.

    “Nobody’s ever done it. Who can do it? If we don’t do this, someone will eventually. If we can get up physically for this game, anything can happen.”

    Both losing captain Jean de Villiers and coach Allister Coetzee were magnanimous in their praise for the Sharks’ performance at Newlands.

    De Villiers said: “The Sharks are on a real roll, on a mission ... if there’s a team you won’t bet against now it’s them.

    “It will be a fantastic victory for them if they can go on and win it. They’ve shown that they can overcome the travelling.

    “It’s going to be tough to do it but the whole of South Africa should get behind them. They’ve got a great chance.”
    Coetzee described the Sharks as “deserved winners” who had put his charges under pressure, particularly in the first half.

    “We wish them well in the final.”

    *Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing
    Read More On:  sharks stormers chiefs super 15 rugby

    Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

    Comment on this story
    Comments have been closed for this article.
    Live Video Streaming
    • Blitz
      Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @00:00
    • SS1
      Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @01:00
    • SS2
      Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @02:00
    • SS3
      Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @03:00
    Video Highlights
    Sport Talk


    04 July 2015
    27 June 2015
    20 June 2015
    13 June 2015
    12 June 2015
    06 June 2015
    05 June 2015
    30 May 2015
    29 May 2015
    23 May 2015
    22 May 2015
    16 May 2015
    15 May 2015
    09 May 2015
    08 May 2015
    02 May 2015
    01 May 2015
    26 April 2015
    25 April 2015
    24 April 2015
    18 April 2015
    17 April 2015
    11 April 2015
    10 April 2015
    04 April 2015
    03 April 2015
    28 March 2015
    27 March 2015
    22 March 2015
    21 March 2015
    20 March 2015
    14 March 2015
    13 March 2015
    07 March 2015
    06 March 2015
    28 February 2015
    27 February 2015
    21 February 2015
    20 February 2015
    15 February 2015
    14 February 2015
    13 February 2015


    “Craig Joubert deserves plaudits for making a gutsy call against the home side in the Super Rugby semis, writes Herman Mostert.”

    Opinion Poll

    Super Rugby is a thing of the past. Next up: The Rugby Championship. Who will emerge victorious this season?

    Monday Quiz Madness!

    There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.