Sharks to up attacking intent
Cape Town - Sharks coach John Plumtree wants his side to improve their attacking game when they face the Kings in Port Elizabeth on Saturday night.
Wins over the Cheetahs (29-22) in Bloemfontein and the Stormers (12-6) in Durban have given the Sharks a solid start to the season but the coach wants more from an attacking perspective in their next game, especially after failing to score a try
against the men from Cape Town last week.
“We’ve had two big games now after a relatively quiet pre-season and the boys are feeling battle-hardened,” Plumtree told Sharks website editor Michael Marnewick.
“We’re not entirely happy with our game from an attack perspective - obviously our defence is coming on and I was really happy with our kicking game - but our attacking game is not quite there yet. But it will grow and get better and we’ll work really hard on it this week.
“Also, the ball on the weekend was pretty slow, there was a lot going on at the breakdown, lots of counter-rucking and we had to send more numbers to a ruck than we would have preferred to which leaves you with fewer numbers on attack.”
Despite them being favourites against Super Rugby newcomers the Kings on Saturday, Plumtree also warned against being overconfident.
“The team is mature, it’s been together for a while - we have a few babies in there but generally the core of the team have been around for a while. We’ve had some experiences in the past where we’ve dropped our guard and haven’t played very well and that’s cost us, but we don’t want to talk about that too much, we want to focus on maintaining the standards we’ve set for ourselves because, at the end of the day, in a team culture, your standards are your lifeblood - they run through your veins.
“If your standards are low, you’ll perform poorly; if they are high, you’ll perform well. That’s all we’re really focusing on now, making sure that everyone brings their best in their preparation and brings their best on the weekend. That’s what you want. Me standing up in front of the team saying ‘listen boys, this game is a potential banana-peel’ - they’ve heard it all before. It’s about what is going through their minds and making sure collectively they are ready to go on the weekend.
“We want to maintain our standards and making sure we’re up for every game, and put in 80 minute performances each week. There are no easy games in Super Rugby, they are all generally pretty tight and we’re expecting another tough one this weekend," continued Plumtree.
Their clash against the Kings kicks off at 19:10 on Saturday night.Teams:Kings:
15 SP Marais, 14 Sergeal Petersen
, 13 Ronnie Cooke, 12 Andries Strauss, 11 Marcello Sampson, 10 Demetri Catrakilis
, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Jacques Engelbrecht, 7 Wimpie van der Walt, 6 Cornell du Preez, 5 Steven Sykes 4 Darron Nell (captain), 3 Kevin Buys , 2 Bandise Maku
, 1 Schalk Ferreira
Substitutes: 16 Edgar Marutlulle, 17 Jaco Engels
, 18 David Bulbring, 19 Luke Watson
, 20 Nicolas Vergallo, 21 George Whitehead, 22 Hadleigh ParkesSharks:
15. Louis Ludik, 14. JP Pietersen
, 13. Paul Jordaan, 12. Francois Steyn (captain), 11. Lwazi Mvovo
, 10. Patrick Lambie
, 9. Cobus Reinach, 8. Ryan Kankowski
, 7. Jean Deysel, 6. Marcell Coetzee
, 5. Franco van der Merwe, 4. Anton Bresler, 3. Jannie du Plessis, 2. Craig Burden, 1. Tendai Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16. Kyle Cooper, 17. Wiehahn Herbst, 18. Pieter-Steph du Toit, 19. Jacques Botes, 20. Charl McLeod, 21. Meyer Bosman
, 22. Odwa Ndungane