Durban - Sharks coach John Plumtree
has warned that his team will have to be at their best when they face-off with a “very clinical” Stormers outfit in their crunch Super Rugby encounter at Kings Park in Durban on Saturday.
The KwaZulu-Natal side are seen as one of the form sides of the competition at present, after winning their last three games, with plenty of talk in the build-up this week about peaking at the right time.
However, it will not be easy against the table-topping Capetonians, who also have the edge in recent meetings with three victories from their last three encounters.
“They’re top of the log, an outstanding side and very clinical in what they do,” Plumtree said this week.
“They have enjoyed a lot of continuity in selection and they’re a very efficient outfit, so we know that we’re going to have to play very well to beat them on the weekend.”
The Stormers have also drawn disapproval for their defensive style of play, which has been branded ‘boring’ by several of their critics.
They have scored just 19 tries in the competition thus far, the second lowest behind the bottom-placed Lions, and more than 10 fewer than any of the top six sides.
But their defence has been impeccable and the Sharks boss has backed the style adopted by his opposite number Allister Coetzee.
“They’ve picked up some criticism for not scoring a lot of tries, but all they’re focused on is winning and how they do it doesn’t really matter - as long as they do it,” Plumtree said.
“I guess they’ll be looking at improving their processes just like we do and every other team does.
“We know we have to play well to win this game and to score tries against their defence, it’s going to take a big effort.”
A win is critical for the east coast team if they want to consolidate their sixth and final play-off spot on the log ahead of next week’s final match before the international break.
“We’ve focused on the five games leading into the break and played three of them and have two to go and we’re looking good,” Plumtree added.
The last time the two sides met was in the second week of 2012 when the Stormers edged to a 15-12 win at Newlands.
Coetzee conceded they were slightly fortunate to win that game, adding that he expected a much different challenge this time around.
“We were a bit lucky to beat them in the second round,” Coetzee said.
“No tries were scored and we won by a late penalty from Peter Grant.
“They have great ball carriers and they will be looking to use them this time around.
Fresh off a 19-13 win against the Waratahs, Coetzee said the Stormers did not require any motivation ahead of the Sharks match.
"The Stormers won't have a problem being up for the challenge because they will not want to embarrass themselves." "The quality of the Sharks is such that you must be up for the challenge otherwise they'll destroy you."