Plumtree: New era in SA rugby

2012-02-23 15:15

Johannesburg -  Sharks coach John Plumtree believes South African rugby has entered a new phase with so many new faces on the Super Rugby scene.

Plumtree was speaking ahead of his side's Super Rugby opener against the Bulls in Pretoria on Friday night.

Both teams have lost a number of senior players but gained some new exciting prospects.

The respective coaches have made bold team selections for the first game, with Plumtree shifting wing JP Pietersen to outside centre while the Bulls have selected the young and exciting centre combination of Johann Sadie and Francois Venter.

Plumtree said with the changing of the guard in the South African teams, players will have something extra to play for.

“You’ve got a lot of players in Super Rugby this year that have a point to prove, I think,” said Plumtree.

“It looks like that down in Cape Town, it looks like that down in Pretoria and obviously we’ve got some here as well.

“So there’s a change if you like, a new page in South African rugby in a lot of ways.”

He said with so many experienced players leaving, it created the opportunity for young players to show their mettle.

“That’s exciting for them and it’s exciting for the competition as well,” said Plumtree.

Since 1998, these two sides have met each other 16 times in Super Rugby, with the Bulls winning eight times, the Sharks seven times and one match was drawn.

The Bulls will want to settle the scores after the coastal side derailed their chances of advancing to the playoffs when they beat them at their home ground, Loftus Versfeld.

After an inconsistent start to the competition, the Bulls went on a six-match winning streak after three consecutive losses on their tour of Australasia.

The Pretoria-based side needed to win all of their remaining matches in the league phase to make it into the playoffs.

They seemed to be on track racking up convincing wins which included a 32-23 victory over the Sharks in Durban.

The Bulls, however, stumbled over the final hurdle in the last match of the season, coincidentally against the Sharks at Loftus Versfeld.

While the Bulls were licking their wounds, the Sharks went on to play in the quarter-final against the Crusaders in New Zealand which they lost.

The Sharks are one of the few teams to have broken the Loftus hoodoo, winning four of their last six matches at the Bulls' headquarters in the last 10 years.

Bulls coach Frans Ludeke said they had a tough task ahead of them, playing the Sharks in their opening match, as he believes they're one of the main contenders this season.

“When we play against them it is always a physical battle," Ludeke said.

"They try to get the ball into space, then speed it up - a ball retention type of game.”

“It will be the same tactics all over but the gain line will be the vital battle - the team that gets the momentum is the team that will succeed at the end of the day.”


15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Francois Venter, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Morne Steyn, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Pierre Spies (captain), 7 Jaques Potgieter, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Juandre Kruger, 4 Flip van der Merwe, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1 Dean Greyling

Substitutes: 16 Willie Wepener, 17 Frik Kirsten, 18 Wilhelm Steenkamp, 19 CJ Stander, 20 Jano Vermaak, 21 Louis Fouche, 22 JJ Engelbrecht

15. Riaan Viljoen, 14. Louis Ludik, 13. JP Pietersen, 12. Tim Whitehead, 11. Lwazi Mvovo, 10. Patrick Lambie, 9. Frederic Michalak, 8. Ryan Kankowski, 7. Marcell Coetzee, 6. Keegan Daniel (captain), 5. Anton Bresler, 4. Steven Sykes, 3. Jannie du Plessis, 2. Bismarck du Plessis, 1. Dale Chadwick

Substitutes: 16. Craig Burden, 17. Wiehahn Herbst, 18. Ross Skeate, 19. Jacques Botes, 20. Charl McLeod, 21. Meyer Bosman, 22. Paul Jordaan


  • Byron - 2012-02-23 14:45

    Ludeke is spot on! the sharks will miss their ball carriers in deysel and Alberts who also hit players back in the tackle. Plumtree has selected two tight locks in Bresler and Sykes to try add the missing grunt.

      Lionel - 2012-02-23 14:49

      Not to mention Beast as a ball carrier as well!!! This game is to close to call but I will say Sharks by 3!!!!!!!

      Danny - 2012-02-23 15:01

      Beast is out injured.....a shame.

      Hanjo - 2012-02-23 15:12

      Danny, I think Lionel meant they will also miss Beast as a ball carrier.

      Lionel - 2012-02-23 15:15

      Thanks Hanjo:):):)

      Tracy - 2012-02-23 15:57

      It's ok - Marcell Coetzee is a one man demolition machine. Reminds me of a young Chuck Norris.

  • Danny - 2012-02-23 14:57

    These guys is JUST as good as Deysel and Alberts, watch the GAME!! 8. Ryan Kankowski, 7. Marcell Coetzee, 6. Keegan Daniel and dont forget 2. Bismarck Up The SHARKS!! Forever.

  • Shaun - 2012-02-23 15:00

    Will be a cracker, good luck to both sides, but my heart and head says Sharks by 7+.

  • Saffa - 2012-02-23 15:10

    All cr@ptalk aside: The Bulls are going to surprise a few people this season, friend and foe alike. I don't believe they are going to be the bottom feeding no-hopers most of us WANT them to be.....sadly. Sure they have lost many experienced chaps (which is why I can't see them WINNING the competition), BUT I think the loss of the oldies might just be a blessing in disguise for them - new brooms and all that....(it couldn't have been easy playing in a team with Danie, Vic, Bakkies, du Preez etc - so set in their ways....) NOW is the time for Morne Steyn to rediscover his running game - and yes, even as a Bulls hating soul, I would like to see this.....I do however reckon the Sharks are going to take this game, purely because I feel this Bulls team, (however much POTENTIAL they have) are being given far too much credit for a totally unknown outift playing in the REAL DEAL for the 1st time without their former gloryboys. If the Bulls are believing what they read in the press (yes you JJ Harmse and co), they are in trouble - regardless of how 'talented' they are. Go the STORMERS, BLUES AND CHEETAHS! For the rest, may the best teams win, as long as it doesn't stuff up my Superbru.

      Heiku - 2012-02-23 15:19

      Go live in new zealand then. Do you support the allblacks? \

      Saffa - 2012-02-23 15:23

      No I don't...I am a fanatical Bok supporter....but THIS competition is NOT about Bok rugby. I happen to like the Blues as my 2nd team in this tournie - always have, always will, from the days of the superrugby dawn. These are the teams I like....Stormers, Blues and Cheetahs - why not? It's not exactly test rugby is it?

      Saffa - 2012-02-23 15:26

      And to add before I greet you @Heiku: Any South African who tells me that he/she wants ALL the SA teams to win is talking absolute cr@p. With this conference format - it is DOG EAT DOG, no option but to root for other Saffa teams it is impossible to rah rah all the SA teams, even if I WAS that way inclined.

      Jason - 2012-02-23 15:32

      If my Superbru choice is correct then the Bulls are gonna take this one. I have a feeling..............but im not sure if its a sign or just indigestion.

      Saffa - 2012-02-23 15:33

      LOL @Jaco :)

      Lionel - 2012-02-23 15:35

      If a overseas team needs to beat a SA team for my team to advance to the play offs,then so be it.............but during the round robin games I support all SA sides against overseas teams regardless...........

      Saffa - 2012-02-23 15:42

      @Lionel, you sir are a true patriot. I sit and pray the Sharks and Bulls fall at as many hurdles they can......purely because it give us more chance of topping the conference and getting a guaranteed home playoff match :) Hehehehehehe.

      paul.ramncwana - 2012-02-23 15:50

      @Saffa I think you should take JJ Harmse job becoz his lost focus only thing he thinks abt is food. lol I real do think the SHARKS are gonna beat the PINK BULLS. Its so funny to c how many players are from STORMERS that would b featuring in this game. I still remember whn we bought Jacques Fourie how the BULLS & CO where up in arms that we buying talent from another provinces.

      Heiku - 2012-02-23 15:51

      I will 'Rah Rah' any SA team that plays against any NZ or AUS team that's for sure.

      Hanjo - 2012-02-23 15:56

      Jaco, having some childish grudge against a certain team is exactly that, childish...@Saffa...I like the Highlanders and Blues, but wanting all the SA franchises to do well is both patriotic and makes sense, 5 strong SA teams in Super rugby can only benefit the Springboks. I am a Stormers supporter, but I'd like to see the Bulls, Cheetahs, Lions and Sharks do well......I'll be supporting them all when they play against overseas opponents.

      Jason - 2012-02-23 16:21

      @Saffa, certain rugby supporters in this country need to sit down and read what conference rugby is. This is one of my problems with it, because I now have to cheer against other SA sides to ensure Stormers go through. Im still not sure conference is the way to go.............but i guess we are stuck with it till 2015 at least.

      Saffa - 2012-02-23 16:29

      Exactly @Jasoneye - of course one wants certain players within other local teams to do well...the individuals who will be playing for the Boks - it's the ACTUAL FRANCHISE (e.g. Bulls, Sharks) that I don't want to win anything. It isn't the ideal, but its the way it is (many of the local coaches alluded to it as well last year - not being able to support a local team). Superrugby is about winning - and being the top franchise within a conference - end of. I am being honest about not wanting the Sharks and Bulls to perform well - because THAT would not be good for my Stormers. My support for the Blues is NOT entrenched in some pathetic political statement that went out of the window in 1994 (thats you chaps Caped Crusaders)..........and I have always digged the Cheetahs. The time for patriotism is during the International season. Cheering for all the SA teams in the S15 is akin to cheering for all the teams in the Currie Cup - insane.

      Saffa - 2012-02-23 16:33

      @Paul - I remember last year on these VERY forums, how a few of us Stormer fans were attacked, scorned and laughed at when Sadie made his debut against the Saders on the wing. The article was entitled the X Factor or something, and it was published 2 days before the game...... Because Sadie was pretty unknown in Bulls circles at that stage......the smurfs on this forum thought it was hysterical when we spoke of his talent......NOW: 365 days later, Sadie is the SAVIOUR of Bulls rugby, according to those Blue experts.......the mind boggles.

      Saffa - 2012-02-23 16:53

      @Hanjo - sorry, I only read your comment now (somehow missed it earlier). In 2010 we had 2 Saffa teams in the final - and I would like to remind you how 'good' that was for Bok rugby.........2010 sucked for the Boks. That is why I say - I am happy for key Bok players to perform in their specific franchises, THEIR form is more important than their franchises form IMHO. Now with the added spice of the KINGS guaranteed a spot in the S15 next year.....I want to see ANY Stormer/Bulls/Lions/Cheetahs/Sharks supporter actively HOPING all the franchises so well - because whatever way you look at it - ONE of the franchises (mentioned above) is being cut......So: for me, its about the Stormers ensuring they AREN'T that franchise - which sadly means, zero support for the others, bar the Cheetahs.

  • coolshoesouthafrica - 2012-02-23 16:06

    Changing of the guard, looking forward to it. Squads have to be so big these days that the sooner they get the new kids on the block the better.Like the look of the Bulls new centres. Sadie is one for the future. I really hope they start getting rid of all the dead wood. Wynand Olivier needs to go BIG TIME Lets blood as much youth in as possible,lets hope Heneke does the same when choosing the Boks squad for England. If he selects Morne Steyn at 10 I will be very dissapointed WC 2015!!

  • bernhard.b.baatjies - 2012-02-23 19:26

    yes Newlands is the most supported and popular stadium of all... Newlands, home of Province and Stormers Rugby, has become world renowned for being the most supported teams in the modern game, regardless of log position – with its spectators now commonly known as “The Newlands Faithful”. In 2002, Newlands welcomed its millionth spectator, to watch a Stormers match, through the gates, with more than 2 million fans having come out to support the popular Super Rugby franchise over the past 12 years. In both 2008 and 2009, Newlands recorded a total annual attendance of more than 500 000 spectators, with an average of 17 rugby fixtures a year. 2010 saw 666177 of the Faithful through the gates, with the Stormers attracting an average crowd in excess of 43000 per game. (capacity 48000)

      Marius Louw - 2012-02-23 20:33

      Its because they all came to see the other team kick your ass, brood!

  • Peter - 2012-02-24 10:23

    I recon this is going to be Pat Lambie's year. This boy is only just beginning and can be a real game breaker. Watch him; we aint seen nothing - yet! Peter

  • David - 2012-02-24 10:29

    Spies Captain. Sorry for the Bulls tonight

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