Plumtree happy with Sharks win

2011-02-21 11:35

Gavin Rich - SuperSport

Johannesburg - The fact his Sharks team’s opening win wasn’t pretty to watch was insignificant for coach John Plumtree in comparison to the contrast between now and where his team were when they last started a Super Rugby campaign 12 months ago.

Whereas the Sharks started off 2010 with a disappointing loss to the Chiefs that started off a five match losing sequence, this time they won comfortably against their long time hoodoo team, the Cheetahs, and have four log points to their name as they await the next clash against the Blues.

The Sharks won the Currie Cup last year with an entertaining quick paced game but their 24-9 win over the Cheetahs saw little evidence of those strengths. Instead they ground out the victory, with the forwards leading the way and paving the way for the result which was achieved in a contest that featured a lot of kicking.

“We did kick a lot more than maybe we wanted to, but that is something you have to expect at this time of the year,” said Plumtree.

“That performance against the Cheetahs is not going to put bums on seats, we know that, but at the same time you couldn’t expect us to do much more than that in those conditions. Apart from the humidity, which makes running rugby difficult, there was also the rain we had to contend with in this match.

“To be fair to us, I did think we tried to play a bit of ball in hand rugby towards the start of the game and for part of the first half. We were just a little naïve and were guilty of running too laterally. We needed to be more direct. But once the conditions worsened there wasn’t much else we could do and I was pleased with the way we ground it out to win.”

The Cheetahs didn’t offer much and were disappointing, with their game in the first hour not extending much beyond a couple of misdirected up-and-unders before the need to play catch-up precipitated a different approach in the last quarter. It goes without saying that the Sharks might expect a much tougher challenge from the Blues at Kings Park this coming Saturday.

The Blues produced the biggest upset of the first round when they beat the heavily fancied Crusaders in Auckland at the weekend and will come to Durban in a confident mood. Plumtree will probably expect more from his team this time from an attacking viewpoint, but he and his coaching staff have also made it clear from the outset they don’t expect to return to the flamboyance of last year so early in the season.

To that end, the way the Sharks forwards dominated most phases of the game – they did struggle in the lineouts – should be a source of great encouragement, and the way that Bismarck du Plessis and Willem Alberts just picked up from where they left off last year should be regarded as an ominous sign for future opponents.

As Plumtree says, the attacking game will come, but for now it should be pleasing to the Sharks that they do have another way to win.

The Sharks should be just one player short of full muster when Plumtree considers his selections for Saturday. Jean Deysel is only set to return from his long injury lay-off during the overseas tour, which starts next week, but Ross Skeate will be available again after recovering from the finger dislocation suffered during the Neo Africa Tri-Series in Cape Town.

Skipper John Smit should also be back after missing the Cheetahs match with a calf strain picked up at the captain’s practice the night before the game. JP Pietersen is expected to be over the slight hamstring complaint that kept him from being selected for the opening match.


  • Sharkman - 2011-02-21 11:52

    Way to go SHARKS!!!!!!!!!!

  • Alwyn - 2011-02-21 11:57

    He should be especially with the performance of his top player Craig Joubert

      seeps.mazi - 2011-02-21 12:16

      Would you like some cheese with that Whine?

      Shawn - 2011-02-21 12:39

      Whateva your sour ass! i think you should leave the rugby alone -seems to me you dont know sh.t!!!!!!!!!!!

      dplots - 2011-02-21 13:01

      Perhaps the Cheetahs need to find a coach who understands the rules first before trying to educate the players. Their scrum has been rubbish for a long time and play at the break down shocking. Clearly they need to get hold of the updated rule book.

  • fatpas - 2011-02-21 12:14

    I was also glad for the win but to me neither Meyer Bosman nor Jaques-Louis Potgieter (when he came on) have added any value to the Sharks team whatsoever. I am a bit worried about the Sharks backline as it is at the moment and they will be really tested when they play against the Blues on Saturday.

      Steve - 2011-02-21 12:41

      I can only agree - the forwards can take the Sharks through to the finals, but I'm not so sure about the backs. A lot of youngsters & new combinations though, so hopefully they can settle down and play to their full potential.

  • Ditsimzn - 2011-02-21 12:32

    Well done SHARKS. Again, it is proven the team who plays the best to the refs interpretation will win games. Yes, the ref made mistakes and yes, sometimes they go against a team. But a good team, with a great captain, will know how to play the game within the interpretations of the ref, and will take advantage of it where they can. It is early days and I believe that although we did not see exiting running rugby, we saw a team that is willing to grind out the victories, and that my friends is what wins the silverware. The Sharks will improve and become a better team with each outing, I mean, we do not want them to peak in the beginning of the season just to run out of form at the end, and come the end of the competition, all that matters is the silverware, and not how it was won. A win is a win is a win.

  • springbokke - 2011-02-21 13:46

    yawn,,yawn.............enough said.

  • Alwyn - 2011-02-21 13:46

    Funny that two years ago that same two props were touted as the next Boks,im not a Cheetah supporter ,but can see when a ref favours a team,and yes i agree,the cheetahs need a coach,and a small question,how can a Kzn union take the wistle when the sharks are playing?

  • pumezo - 2011-02-21 14:27

    bulls rugby... siss on you.

  • Andy49 - 2011-02-21 15:59

    Well now, all you Sharkies defending the call for fat smits retirement & you guys crying that your beloved most influential & successful captain fat smit must stay what you say now. he had no input & you still won. EOYT he had no input & the Boks still won?

      Ragged-Tooth - 2011-02-21 19:44

      The Boks lost to Scotland. Matfield's wonderfully mature way of handling referees, squinting his eyes and pulling his face ready to throw his little toys out of his cot. Cry baby

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