Plumtree promises better

2011-08-22 00:00

COACH John Plumtree promised a far better display from the Sharks in next Saturday’s crucial game against the Lions at Ellis Park.

Plumtree was reflecting on the Sharks’ ugly 23-3 Currie Cup win over the lowly Leopards at King’s Park on Friday night and looking ahead to the top-of-the-table clash against the Lions on Saturday.

In the only match played on Saturday, the Free State Cheetahs ran rampant over the Pumas, scoring 11 tries to win 80-16 in Bloemfontein.

But the most significant result of the weekend was in Cape Town where Western Province ended the Lions’ unbeaten run with a 28-26 win. Their loss, coupled to the Durban result, saw the Sharks close the gap on the Lions to just one point at the top of the log.

They meet in Johannesburg on Saturday to complete the first round of the competition. Plumtree knows that a repeat of the disappointing form on Friday night will bring defeat at Ellis Park.

“We won’t beat the Lions if we play like that, but we won’t play like that. We’ll be a lot better than that.

“We’ve had these nights before. We wanted to see some good football and we didn’t get it. It didn’t help with all the stop-start, scrum re-sets and knock-ons.”

Plumtree described it as “a frustrating affair for everyone”.

“We were impatient in the first half, our halfbacks [Conrad Hoffman and Frederic Michalak] couldn’t get our game going and we were too lateral against their drift defence.

“When we got some momentum and got going we just didn’t finish the opportunities that we created. The whole game was pretty much dominated by re-set scrums and it slowed up everything.

“We wanted to play an up-tempo game, but just couldn’t get it going. It was one of those nights you want to just put a line through.”

The Leopards successfully slowed up the Sharks’ possession at the breakdown and Plumtree said he would have to watch the video replay to see what was going wrong.

“There was just no flow in the match. The Leopards didn’t look like they would score a try and our defence was pretty good most of the time, but really, we wanted to get the bonus point. We had an opportunity, but a crooked throw-in at the lineout spoilt that.

“It was just a night you want to take the points and move on.”

Plumtree said there were very few positives for the Sharks: they have performed poorly against the smaller unions (Griquas, the Pumas and now the Leopards), but have done well against the bigger teams (WP, Blue Bulls and Free State).

“I’m not sure if that’s mental or not, but you also have to give credit to the opposition.

“They defended well and when we got behind them they scrambled well. They clearly came here wanting to prove a point. Against the big teams this year they’ve been pretty competitive and good on them.

“In the end, we were not accurate enough to put up a big score and score the four tries we wanted.”

Saturday’s scores (home team first):

Cheetahs 80 (22) — Tries: Tewis de Bruyn, Pieter Labuschagne, WP Nel, Boom Prinsloo (3), Riaan Smit, Philip Snyman, Corné Uys, Marcel van Der Merwe (2). Conversions: Sias Ebersohn (6), Johan Goosen (5). Drop goals: Goosen.

Pumas 16 (6) — Tries: Jaco Bouwer, Deon Scholtz. Penalties: Ricardo Croy (2).

Friday’s results (home team first):

Sharks 23 Leopards 3

WP 28 Lions 26

Blue Bulls 44 Griquas 20

This weekend’s matches (home teams first):

Friday: Pumas vs Western Province, Witbank — 7 pm

Leopards v Blue Bulls, Rustenburg — 7.10 pm

Saturday:

Griquas vs Cheetahs, Kimberley — 3 pm

Lions vs Sharks, Johannesburg — 5.05 pm

Teams P W D L BPts Pts

Lions 6 5 0 1 3 23

Sharks 6 5 0 1 2 22

WP 6 3 1 2 4 18

FS 6 3 0 3 5 17

Griquas 6 3 1 2 3 17

Bulls 6 3 0 3 1 13

Pumas 6 0 0 6 5 5

Leopards 6 1 0 5 1 5

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