'Beware Bulls onslaught'

    2011-05-17 22:00
    Christo Buchner

    Johannesburg - His aim is to haul in the Stormers, but in the same breath Sharks coach John Plumtree will also be glancing over his shoulder at the resurging Bulls.

    "This phase of Super Rugby is very intense. The race is wide open and few of the teams are completely out of the picture," said Plumtree.

    "Everybody now knows where they stand and what needs to be done in the last five weeks to make the play-offs. For us, especially, it won't be easy. Our last three games against the Cheetahs, Lions and Bulls are away from home.

    "We want to keep the pressure on the Stormers and that's why it's important to beat the Bulls on Saturday. The Bulls are a quality team and know how to react when the pressure is on.

    "The pressure is definitely on them now because they know that they need to win virtually every game from here onwards. That is why we expect a massive onslaught from them.

    "It's difficult to judge their performance against the Rebels because the Rebels were so poor. Even so, the Bulls have clearly regained their confidence and that makes them dangerous."

    The Sharks, with 43 points, are one log point behind the Stormers (44) and seven ahead of the Bulls (36).

    "It's not an easy tournament by any means. It's physical and demanding, but wonderful for precisely that reason," said Plumtree.

    "You are subjected to a major test at every level every week. The longer it continues the tougher it becomes and every team's depth will be severely tested in the last month."

    Two Sharks forwards - John Smit and Jacques Botes - will undergo fitness tests on Thursday before being considered for the game against the Bulls at Kings Park.

    Plumtree said that under-20 eighthman Marcell Coetzee was still part of the set-up and should be part of the 22-man squad.

    If Botes is not declared fit, Coetzee may be in the starting line-up.
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