Sharks buoyed by defeats

2011-02-08 12:03

Gavin Rich - SuperSport

Durban - For a while in the Neo Africa Tri-Series it looked as though the pre-season tournament might be the last of its kind that the Sharks would contest as it started to become debatable whether it was a positive thing for the Durban franchise.

Although coach John Plumtree rightly contended both ahead of the event and during it that results mean nothing in pre-season games, the big defeat dished out by the Lions in the Tuesday match could not have done the Sharks confidence any good.

And following on from last year’s disaster, when they were whitewashed by the Force in one game and well beaten by the Stormers in the other, it was understandable if the Sharks started to wonder if the tournament did them any good. Last year they followed up the pre-season phase with a disastrous start to the Super 14, losing their first five matches.

However, while they lost their final game to the Stormers, the Sharks did bounce back from the Lions defeat, and as Plumtree put it afterwards, there was enough in their 17-16 defeat to “put the Lions game out of our system”.

Newlands has become something of a wake-up call venue for the Sharks in recent times. At the end of last season they were thrashed by Western Province in the last Currie Cup league match of the season but then absorbed the lessons dished out to win the final three weeks later. And in the four day turn-around between Neo Africa fixtures, the Sharks did enough again to suggest they are on track.

“I was pleased with the intensity on defence, which was lacking in the first game, and I would say that we are now in a good space heading towards the Super Rugby start,” said Plumtree.

“This tournament has been good for us in that it has offered a high level of competition with a big crowd for the final match. That helped get our excitement back, and playing a friendly in front of such a big crowd is a good experience for the players.

“We have a couple of weeks now till our first game in Super Rugby and this is when the excitement of the players will start to lift. I have no doubt we are going to be up there when the competition starts.”

Plumtree was pleased with the way his depth was tested and came through in the Neo Africa series, with the two locks brought in to cover for the injured trio of Alistair Hargreaves, Ross Skeate and Steven Sykes both coming through well against the Stormers.

“I thought that both Gerhard Mostert and Anton Bresler did very well for us. Alistair’s problem, as you know, isn’t as bad as initially thought, and he will be back in time for our first game against the Cheetahs, and Ross will be back a week after that,” said Plumtree.

“So it looks like we are well served at lock. We also have depth in other areas. I was pleased with the fact that Jacques-Louis Potgieter ended up having quite a bit of game-time, particularly as Louis Ludik’s injury Is not serious and he will be back soon. We got a chance to try Odwa Ndungane at fullback.”

The Neo Africa game was the last match warm-up for the Sharks, it is now, as their coach put it, all about just ensuring a steady build-up in levels of excitement as the tournament kick-off approaches.


  • Fiftybucks - 2011-02-08 12:34

    Odwa is the future at 15!

  • Dale - 2011-02-08 12:40

    And John is bloody right, the results do mean nothing. It's what he does with the bench, experimenting/testing out options. On to the confidence "issue", the Sharks i'm sure have more than enough confidence. After all, they did win the Currie Cup!

  • Enigma07 - 2011-02-08 13:32

    Just take the kicking away from Lambie.

  • Pieto Smith - 2011-02-08 14:24

    Ja crap a brick! I agree......let J.L Pottie be the kicker cos lambs doesnt kick so well....he always throws away 9 to 15 points easily... He is a very good player lambie, but rather let potter kick for goal....

  • Ragged-Tooth - 2011-02-08 14:33

    Lambie is in need of a kicking coach, he seems to struggle when kicking from the left side of the field and tends to push it past the uprights. From what I've seen he's pretty decent form the right side of the field when it is more of a hooking action (I'll pay some extra attention to it during the super season)

      GraemeBB - 2011-02-08 18:13

      From what I have seen, he is not too hot with the boot, and lacks distance. Iether you are the full package, or leave the kicking to a better option - he is still a good little player.

  • Broloks - 2011-02-08 20:02

    Go Sharkies!!!!!

  • andrew.c.seymour - 2011-02-09 08:07

    Please! Let's put things into perspective for once! Last year we did lose the Tri-Series games, but there was a helluva lot of experimenting. Then, in the WEEK before the Super 14 starts, the Sharks lose two flyhalves, one of them two days before the first game. Now, tell me how many teams would just walk that off and start winning games? In the context of that, the fact that the Sharks lost four of those first five games by 4 points or less (one of them grossly unfairly when Kurtly Beale intentionally knocked on a ball as last line of defense with Kanko unmarked on the outside) is an enormous boost to the confidence. Gavin, get your head out of your arse.

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