Confidence the problem with Sharks, says coach

2011-09-27 00:00

AFTER some particularly intensive soul-searching over the weekend, the Sharks will approach this week’s preparations for Saturday’s Absa Currie Cup clash against Western Province full of direction.

The good thing is knowing what is wrong. Pin-pointing why is a different matter altogether.

“Mistakes, basic errors, missed touches, it was just one thing after another,” said coach John Plumtree, summing up his thoughts after the match against Griquas last Friday night.

There was no mincing of words when he pointed out that the Sharks hadn’t played with the kind of accuracy needed or that they are capable of producing.

Many of the players are Springboks — past, present and certainly of the future — but the team has been off the best form that saw them to comprehensive and emphatic first-round victories over the Blue Bulls, Western Province and the Free State Cheetahs.

As the season has progressed, so their continuity seems to be hampered by this unknown malaise.

“We just don’t look like we have any confidence,” said Plumtree, which seems to hit the nail on the head. There is no shortage of desire and reversing their first-round loss to Griquas, with a bonus point thrown in for good measure, indicates that they are on the right track.

But against Western Province on Saturday, there needs to be some kind of shift from the Durban side. Both in terms of what is going on mentally as well as physically.

“We’re clearly lacking a bit of grunt upfront, in terms of getting go-forward and that’s making it pretty hard for us to play,” said the Sharks’ coach.

Despite the injury toll to the Sharks, their opponents this Saturday face their own woes. Both sides have contributed significant numbers to the Springbok World Cup campaign and the attrition rate on the Currie Cup front has been severe. Province lost Nick Koster in their 34-20 loss to Free State while Louis Ludik is out of the Sharks Currie Cup campaign with a broken bone in his foot.

With Province’s loss last weekend coming off the back of a loss to the Blue Bulls the previous weekend, they have dropped from second spot (now occupied by the Sharks) into fourth with the fifth-placed Bulls trailing by just four points.

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