Sharks need to rein in the excitement levels

2008-10-07 00:00

Keeping a lid on the excitement in the Sharks squad is just one of the challenges facing coach John Plumtree ahead of Saturday’s Currie Cup semi-final against the Lions at King’s Park.

Plumtree and Sharks captain Johann Muller faced the media in Durban yesterday and both emphasised the need to remain focused on the game rather than all the hype.

“This is why we are in the game,” said Muller, “to play in games like this, at our home ground in front of 40 000 spectators. “It is just important to keep the excitement levels down.”

Plumtree said there was encouraging news on lock Albert van den Berg’s shoulder injury.

“He’s feeling a lot better. There is not too much wrong with the shoulder structurally, just a bit of muscular damage. He will take part in non-contact training and we will make a decision on him later in the week.”

Plumtree said that Nikolai Blignaut would cover for Van den Berg off the bench if the Bok lock is forced to withdraw.

The Sharks coach said the players were preparing well and were excited ahead of Saturday’s challenge.

“But it is really important that they don’t play the game until Saturday. It is no use using all their energy in the build-up, so keeping them relaxed and focused is important.”

Plumtree said that after 18 weeks of Currie Cup action there was little to do in terms of preparation and to make them play better.

“We just have to make sure that by Saturday they are ready to explode.”

Responding to suggestions from the Lions camp that the Sharks have a tendency to freeze in in the knock-out stages of competitions, Plumtree said the players would try and do their talking on the field.

“We respect for Lions. They’re a tough side and we only beat them in the second half at Ellis Park last month. A couple of individual efforts secured the win and we know our performance wasn’t perfect. This week there is a lot of pressure and everyone raises their intensity.

“We’re expecting a really physical and tough contest.”

Plumtree welcomed the appointment of Mark Lawrence as the referee.

“He’s been in good form, he knows us well, we’re more than happy with his appointment.”

Plumtree said that the Sharks wanted to play the game at speed, without collpased scrums and stoppages.

In contrast, said Plumtree, the Lions want to slow up the game and obviously the referee has an important role to play.

He dismissed talk of the Sharks being the favourites.

“In knock-out rugby there are no favourites. We have the advatnage ofplaying at home and we must make it work for us but, in the end, we must still do the job.”

The Durban semi-final kicks off early — at 2.30 pm — to allow for extra time to be played if necesary before the Loftus play-off between the Blue Bulls and Free State at 5pm.

The Currie Cup final will be on October 25 — a fortnight after the semi-finals — to allow the host province to prepare for the climax to the domestic season.

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.