Mitchell v Plumtree in final

2011-10-28 08:44

Johannesburg - Just a week after New Zealand pipped France in the Rugby World Cup final the countries are set to play key roles in the South African Currie Cup final at Coca-Cola Park on Saturday.

Hosts Golden Lions and defending champions and favourites Sharks are coached by Kiwis John Mitchell and John Plumtree respectively and ex-France Test halfback Frederic Michalak is a potential match-winner for the visitors.

Mitchell and Plumtree were born a year apart in the North Island town of Hawera and worked together for the All Blacks ahead of the 2003 World Cup with the former head coach and the latter a video analyst.

But while Mitchell now controls a star-less team with only one 2011 World Cup Springbok in the starting line-up, Plumtree has selected seven including the frontrow of brothers Bismarck and Jannie du Plessis and Tendai 'Beast' Mtawarira.

League results between the teams offer little insight into what may happen before a sell-out 62 000 crowd as the Lions won 28-19 against a Springbok-less Sharks side and rested half their team when losing 53-9 in Durban two weeks ago.

While Mitchell stresses teamwork above all else and reluctantly praises individuals, there is no doubt that the flyhalves battle between Michalak and rising star Elton Jantjies is set to play a critcal role.

Michalak tops the Currie Cup points scoring charts with 181 - 17 more than second-place Jantjies - and both have been central figures in the progress of their teams to the climax of the domestic season.

The Frenchman had a rare off-day in the come-from-behind 20-13 semi-final victory over Free State Cheetahs last weekend, missing two relatively simple penalty attempts before retiring during the first half with a thigh injury.

Plumtree has collected four Currie Cup winners' medals with the Sharks, two as a player and two as a coach, and recognises the value Michalak brings to his star-studded squad.

"Frederic has been great this season ... he has been a match-winner week after week. He was not at his best in one or two games but at times he did not play behind the strongest pack the Sharks have ever put out.

"If we can provide a good platform for him in the final then he has the range of skills that are needed and he has been around for a while so that experience will certainly help," said the 46-year-old Sharks handler.

Jantjies succeeded with all seven kicks at goal in the 29-20 semi-final win over 2010 runners-up Western Province but, true to form, Mitchell did not react by performing any cartwheels.

"Elton was good ... he has been very good all season. He is an exceptional young man and, like the rest of the players, has learnt a lot this year. They have grown and matured," said the Lions coach.

For Michalak or Jantjies to excel at the ground where the Springboks won the 1995 World Cup, they need possession and while the Sharks may have an edge come scrum time, the Lions should hold their own in the line-outs.

Then there is the crucial breakdown struggle and little known Lions Derick Minnie, Michael Rhodes and skipper Joshua Strauss, sporting the bushiest black beard in South African sport, have been season-long 'bravehearts'.

Opposing them will be Sharks captain Keegan Daniel, 2011 World Cup loose forwward Willem Alberts and former national team eighthman Ryan Kankowski in a showdown for loose ball certain to have a major influence on the result.


  • Kosie - 2011-10-28 09:10

    and we have bissie as a fetcher, its going tobe a great game. if the sharks win,great for them, if the lions win it will be good for SA rugby in whole.

      Pierre - 2011-10-31 10:07

      At least Plumtree finally showed how overrated a good captain with leadership qualities is in a high profile game. All one needs is individual players that just charge into the opposition, trying to increase their personal running meter statistics. He must be quite delighted after the scorn from the rugby public when sidelining Smit for most of the Super rugby deliberately against the wishes of the Springbok management. Yeah right, all I can say is 4 more years for current Springbok management.

  • Kevin - 2011-10-28 09:11

    Surely we have learnt that having springboks in a side doesn't guarantee success..I mean look at the Boks and their performances at the world cup!!

      Kevin - 2011-10-28 10:53

      As BOK fans we admit that we were no competition for BRYCE . That's all we lost.

      Bob - 2011-10-28 20:36

      the all blacks by 12 points !!

  • DenĂ©se - 2011-10-28 09:26

    Go Sharks!!! Hope you will match the Lions' hunger AND MORE!! Sharks Forever!

  • Paul - 2011-10-28 09:37

    Lions by plenty

  • Johan - 2011-10-28 09:43

    ..John Mitchell = excellent Kiwi coach..... ..John Plumtree = excellent Kiwi coach... ...PDV = average, mediocre coach.... .......Go All Blacks..!!!.. .....2011 World Champions...!!!

      Johan - 2011-10-28 10:13

      ......Blue = Proteas = Losers...!!! ........he he he he he ...!!!

      Johan - 2011-10-28 10:30

      ...the Springbok was replaced with the Protea... .....wakey, wakey.....

      Kevin - 2011-10-28 10:48

      Winners of the BRYCE ELLIS TROPHY

      Kevin - 2011-10-29 08:50

      Champions of the Bryce Ellis trophy. No winner in 2011 of the Webb Ellis

  • Lynley - 2011-10-28 10:28

    Frankly Johan, I think we need to get away from this misguided perception that "we" are better because of our skincolour. From your comment I can safely deduce that that you "carry" your views into your everyday life. I find that so sad...not for myself, but for you old chap. Let us once and for all understand that talents/abilities are not gifts from "THE SUPREME WHITE GOD"! This generalisation, especially when it comes to people in general, whether sportman or not, that merely through the pigmentation of their skin, are inferior/average/sub-standard is ludecrous to say the least. There are people of colour that set themselves very high standards to achieve and let credit be given where it deserves to be given, irrespective of their skin colour.

      Johan - 2011-10-28 10:37

      @Lynley... carefully.... ....PDV = loser...!! ...irrespective of his skin colour...!!! .......and I support the All Blacks... ....many "black" players in their team.... .......poophole.....

      cobus.fenwick - 2011-10-29 15:33

      Get real, white is also a colour. Look at the wider spectrum and you will not see the idiots.

      Johnny - 2011-10-29 15:35

      Blue, and are the Maoris and Samoans and Polynesians white, I ask?

      Jonathan - 2011-10-30 12:06

      Blue..seems like everyone's an idiot in your eyes..perhaps you should look in the mirror before such comments

  • Spartan - 2011-10-28 10:43

    BLACK. WHITE. DYNAMITE. The Cup remains at Kingspark.

  • christopher.tarboton - 2011-10-28 10:47

    Good comments, until some Johan showed up again and made the place miserable. Must be terrible to be him. Anyway, gonna be a cracker game, CJ against Jannie is a match up they didn't mention. Personally, I think that the Sharks scrum will be better than last weekend and they will be too much for the Lions, but lineouts will be close and the Lions have the better backline, certainly in the centres, so a very even game for my money. I hope the Sharks make it a back to back, and dont forget the history.

  • Kevin - 2011-10-28 10:52

    Sharks to win . It will be a walk in the park. They just need to keep the dog on the leash. Come Monday the Lions will wonder what it must be like to actually have a trophy in the cabinet. We will send them a photo. Go Sharks

      Hennie - 2011-10-29 23:10

      You were saying??????????????????

      Derrick - 2011-10-30 09:03

      Forget the photo-we have the real thing

  • rheinhardt.peens - 2011-10-28 14:11

    Its going to be a bloodbath!!!!!!

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