Plum: Sharks still in it … but a favour won’t go amiss

2011-06-02 00:00

COACH John Plumtree believes that victory in two of the remaining three matches could be enough for the Sharks to finish in the top six and advance to the play-offs in this year’s Super Rugby competition.

The Sharks wrap up their league programme with away games against the Cheetahs, Lions and Bulls over the next three Saturdays.

Victory in all three, tough as this might be, would certainly ensure a top six finish, but Plumtree said that results of other games involving contenders would help their cause and could result in three South African teams (the Stormers, Sharks and Bulls) reaching the play-offs..

“The other sides can also do us some favours by knocking off our other challengers. If the Force beat the Highlanders on the weekend, that could take them out. The Bulls beating the Waratahs could take them out as well and then there could be three South African sides in the top six. And that would be a really good effort in the first year of this competition.”

Plumtree said he was convinced there would still be twists and turns in the final three rounds of league competition and wants the Sharks to shape their own destiny.

“You can see how the best teams in the competition are getting excited about the prospect of the play-offs. Look at the Reds and the Bulls. The better teams are starting to up their level, lift the tempo of their matches and we need to climb that ladder as well.”

The Reds, leading on 54 points and with a relatively comfortable ride over the final three weeks with a home match against the Brumbies and then away games against the Force and Chiefs, should end the season top of the log.

“The Blues (54), Stormers (52) and Crusaders (49) are in a dogfight for second spot and the right to host the second semi-final. The Sharks (47), Waratahs (46), Bulls (45) and Highlanders (44) are vying for the final two wild card entries.

Sharks fullback Louis Ludik said the win over the Waratahs had done wonders for the confidence and mood in the camp.

“It was a very good win for us after the disappointing loss to the Bulls.”

While the Sharks were still patchy at times, Ludik said “there were a lot more positives than negatives”.

Ludik, who moved to Durban from the Lions and had an extended injury break, said he was enjoying his rugby with the Sharks.

“It’s just awesome to play every week. I’m fortunate and grateful for the opportunities I’ve been given since my injury.”

Ludik, brave on attack and defence, has been solid rather than brilliant in a Sharks backline which has yet to fire on attack.

“I want to go out there, every game, and give it my best. I don’t think I’m at my best, but I’m training my heart out and I would like to up my game quite a bit.”

The Sharks fullback is anticipating another physical derby against the Cheetahs on Saturday

“The Cheetahs have picked up good form and have been playing their best rugby in a long time. They’re really on a high and we’re going to have to be at our best.”

After rumours that Ruan Pienaar would be joining the Stormers or the Bulls for the final rounds of Super Rugby, the Springbok scrumhalf was at the Sharks’ practice this week … as a spectator.

Pienaar has just finished a long and successful season with Ulster and was in the Barbarians team which beat England at Twickenham at the weekend.

Pienaar has told Sharks officials that he is planning to return to Durban when his contract with Ulster ends next June.

Saturday’s game in Bloemfontein kicks at 5.05 pm.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.