Sharks to fly in rookie prop
Cape Town - Sharks coach John Plumtree is looking to fly Sharks XV prop Nick Schonert over to Sydney as cover for injuries at tighthead.
The Sharks had a number of injury concerns following Saturday’s comeback win over the Reds at Kings Park with the front row in particular proving troublesome.
“We’re looking at flying [the Sharks XV prop] Nick Schonert over to cover tighthead prop because I’m pretty sure one of Jannie du Plessis or Wiehahn Herbst won’t make it this weekend and you’ve got to have tighthead cover," Plumtree told correspondent and Sharks website editor Michael Marnewick from the team’s base in Sydney.
Schonert is a former SA under-20 player and played tighthead for the Sharks XV in their Vodacom Cup loss to Western Province in Durban over the weekend.
The Sharks arrived in Sydney in high spirits and have settled in well with a day’s training already under the belt ahead of Saturday’s Super Rugby match against the Waratahs.
“We’ve all travelled ok, the boys have kept it pretty light today.
“We had a light session on Tuesday morning and a light gym session in the afternoon and we’re keeping the players from sleeping to get into the time zone here as quickly as possible.
“We’ll get on with the guts of our preparation tomorrow, working hard on where we’re going to focus on the Waratahs. We’ll raise the intensity of our preparation tomorrow.
“We’ve had beautiful weather here in Sydney, we’ve been able to keep it pretty relaxed, had some preparation and everything is good," said Plumtree.
Since analysing the video of the Reds game, The Sharks coach offers a few more insights that they will hope to take lessons from in the coming weeks.
“There were some really good parts and obviously some parts that weren’t so good,” he explained. “We weren’t happy conceding 17 points and having to play catch up and it’s not something we want to do when we’re over here. We made life tough for ourselves.
“But the way the boys came back was really pleasing and the character shown during the last 10 minutes of the first half and all of the second half when there was some good attack and some good defence. It was pretty pleasing against a side with the experience that the Reds have.”
The Sharks don’t have the best record against the Waratahs in Sydney (they have recorded just two wins in 9 games, the last win in 2000), and this is not something that has escaped the coaching staff.
“Yes, we had a long meeting about this: why we’ve failed in Sydney and in Canberra as well - we don’t have a great record there either. We’ve managed to beat them at home, but we haven’t had much success here. We just need to put emphasis on making sure we don’t get distracted while we’re here, that rugby is the reason why we’re here, winning is why we’re here.
“That we really focus this week on having as good as possible build-up to Saturday.”
The Waratahs come into this game off a record that is fairly alien to them. They’ve won just once in four outings and will want to get their campaign well on track; sooner rather than later.
“The Waratahs have always been difficult to beat in Sydney, but as the Force showed against them (winning 21-20 in Sydney this past weekend), it’s not an impossible task,” Plumtree pointed out.
“They will be pretty focused on Saturday, they will be desperate not to drop a second home game. It’s going to be a tough encounter, but we’ve got to put in a performance we’re proud of.”