Plum to rely on Hoffman, Cronje

2011-10-05 00:00

COACH John Plumtree said he will be relying on scrumhalves Conrad Hoffman and Ross Cronje to see the Sharks through the rest of the Currie Cup season.

Plumtree was responding to the hip injury that has ended Charl Mcleod’s Currie Cup season, reported in yesterday’s Witness, and conceded that his loss is a major setback for the Sharks.

“It’s bad news to lose Charl. He adds a lot with his ability, leadership and experience, so it’s a big blow for us. But we’ll have to show faith in the other two [Hoffman and Cronje] and I’m certainly not unhappy with them.

“Ross Cronje didn’t have a great day in his last hit-out [against Free State], but he and Conrad, because of injury, haven’t had a lot of opportunity this year.

“We’ll probably keep those two nines going for the rest of the campaign,” said Plumtree, though he does also have the option of switching Frederic Michalak from flyhalf to scrumhalf.

Reflecting on the defeat by the young Western Province side at the weekend, Plumtree said the Sharks have not been accurate enough in taking their chances.

“There was a dropped pass or a turnover at crucial times. Obviously our lineout let us down and we missed out on five attacking lineouts.

“That was a concern for us and was probably the big difference between the two teams.

“Both sides were defensively very strong and it came down to an error [a charged-down kick by Michalak] that cost us the game.”

Plumtree said the Sharks are looking forward to their away game against the Leopards this weekend and the final league outing against the Lions in Durban a week later.

“The boys know what they need to do this week. If we can go up there and have a really good game against the Leopards, a positive performance, then we could possibly secure a semi-final and that would be great. That’s all we’re really focused on.”

But Plumtree, after a fluctuating season, is not taking the bottom-placed Leopards for granted.

“We haven’t performed well against the minor unions all year and they have got into our pack physically. We know we really have to front up there. The Leopards are a big, heavy side so we have to play the game at a good tempo and be more accurate than last week. That’s really the challenge for us.”

Plumtree conceded that the Sharks face a “mixture of problems”.

“There’s inexperience, we have a pretty light front-row, we’ve had injuries and Bok call-ups, so it hasn’t been easy. It’s never easy for the bigger unions in a World Cup year, but we’re positive. In saying that, we can’t be expected to play like the main Sharks side.”

Plumtree said the Sharks, in spite of their problems and lack of form, are still in contention for a home Currie Cup semi-final.

“We’re still taking it game by game, but it’s been a struggle for us all year, a frustrating season and hard work. But we’re still in it and we’ll fight to the end.”

He said that at the end of nine months of Super Rugby and Currie Cup rugby player management is critical.

“You have only to look at a guy like Keegan Daniel, who has had a massive season, to see the impact of a long season.

“But now is the reward time when there is the incentive of a semi-final, so it’s an exciting time as well. At a time like this you forget about all those niggles and just get on with it.”

The Sharks’ game against the Leopards kicks off at 7.10 pm on Saturday.

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.