Cape Town - Sharks coach John Plumtree says their semi-final clash against the Stormers in Cape Town will be the real deal for his team.
Since their surprise 38-28 loss to the Lions, the Sharks have notched some impressive wins - first humbling the Bulls 32-10 in Durban before beating the Cheetahs (34-15) and Reds (30-17) in convincing fashion to book their semi-final spot.
But despite the good momentum of recent weeks, Plumtree feels they’ll face their toughest challenge yet at Newlands this weekend. The Stormers are fresh from a weekend bye after they finished top of the overall Super Rugby log with an impressive 14 wins from 16 games.
“They’ve been sitting back and waiting while we’re coming back after some travel, it’s a different scenario for both teams this week, I’m sure they will have been doing a lot of preparation. We’ve built up some good momentum over the last few weeks, but we are coming up against a different animal this week, there are pros and cons for both sides," he told the Sharks website.
Plumtree also stressed that the travel factor can't be used as an excuse this weekend.
“We’ll be up for it alright, but we’ve got to be smart about our preparation this week.
“Everyone will be talking about the travel factor, but we knew we’d have to travel again if we got through our playoff. We’ve had to come back to South Africa and the players are positive, at least they can sleep in their own beds and spend time with family. It’s always nice coming home.”
The clash at Newlands kicks off at 17:05 on Saturday.