Sharks looking for rhythm

    2012-02-29 14:10

    Durban - Sharks coach John Plumtree is desperate for his team to raise their game on Saturday when they travel to Newlands to face the Stormers in their second match of the Super Rugby season.

    The Durban franchise were beaten 18-13 in their campaign opener against the Bulls in Pretoria last week.

    Plumtree conceded they were a little rusty in the game, which was the first real test for the three-time runners-up after they opted for a low-key build up to the season with friendlies against Boland and the Eastern Province Kings.

    "It was really our first big contest this year," the Sharks boss said.

    "We were stressed for 30 minutes in Port Elizabeth [against the Kings] and obviously it was a totally different environment at Loftus.

    "It was a big task last week and it's going to be big again this week.

    "We've just got to make sure that we arrive and we don't worry too much about what they've got and concentrate more on our game."

    The match at Loftus Versfeld was error strewn for large parts and lacked the expected intensity.

    In the end, the home side managed to cling on to the win and Plumtree conceded they now needed to move on as fast as possible.

    "There were some lessons learnt over the weekend," he said.

    "We weren't happy with the way we received the contestable kicks. Our driving or stopping the drive wasn't good enough.

    "We're going to be faced with those same threats this weekend, so we'll hope to look after that a little bit better."

    From a personnel perspective, the coach admitted there was some uncertainty in his loose forwards department after Ryan Kankowski picked up a finger injury in the loss against the three-time champions.

    The Springbok number eight was due to undergo a second scan, which was set to give a clearer indication over his availability.

    Centre Tim Whitehead was expected to overcome a groin complaint and take his place in the run-on XV against his former team.

    Winger Odwa Ndungane, who picked up a shoulder injury in the build-up to last week's game, was to face a late fitness test on Thursday along with the fit again flank Willem Alberts (also shoulder) after he spent most of the pre-season on the sidelines.

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