Plumtree delighted at win over hoodoo side

2009-08-03 00:00

THE Sharks, sitting comfortably in tied third place after four rounds, will have Argentinian flyhalf Juan Martin Hernandez in their squad for Friday’s Currie Cup outing against the last-placed Leopards in Bafokeng.

The Sharks, needing to stay in touch with the leaders while their many Springboks are away, have gained excellent wins over the Blue Bulls and hoodoo side Free State — 21-12 in Bloemfontein on Friday night — over the past fortnight.

Griquas, after their 23-19 win over the Golden Lions at Ellis Park at the weekend, are at the top of the log on 19 points from four games. WP beat the struggling Leopards 48-7 in Cape Town to remain third with the Sharks while the second-placed Blue Bulls downed Boland 50-18 in the other weekend games.

John Plumtree, the Sharks head coach, was delighted with the win.

“I thought our kicking was fantastic and so was our work at breakdown. But the rain made conditions tough and we had to grind it out,” he said at the weekend.

Plumtree said the Sharks were able to put pressure on the Free State lineout — “and we haven’t often been able to do that” — and the young front-row did well.

“The players were in the mood and showed real desire, full credit to Stefan Terblanche and his leadership.”

Plumtree praised Rory Kockott for his balanced game and taking the pressure off his young flyhalf (Guy Cronje).

“But we have to keep working hard. If we don’t show desire and character, we can get hurt (because senior players are missing). The players know that.”

Plumtree said the players wanted to do well for each other.

“And that’s something you cannot coach. That’s worth gold.”

Plumtree had his friend, former All Black coach John Mitchell, for company in Bloemfontein and he handed the Sharks players their match jersies.

“It was great to have him. He is a good mate of mine and we share information all the time. He was only over here for the Test and was never going to be part of our coaching structure but it did give our players a lift.”

There is concern over prop Deon Carstens (rib cartilage) but Plumtree said there were no other injuries.

Naka Drotske, the Free State coach, agreed that Kockottt had been the best player on the field and his kicking, tactically and at goal, had decided the game.

“ We played well in the first half (9-9) at half time but our discipline let us down in the second half and the Sharks showed their depth and played very well.”

LOG STANDINGS

Griquas 19; Bulls 14; WP 13; Sharks 13; Lions 11; Boland 4; Cheetahs 1; Leopards 0

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