Sharks to go on attack

2012-03-27 00:00

SHARKS coach John Plumtree admitted yesterday that his players had run out of puff in the second half of their weekend Super Rugby game against the Waratahs in Sydney.

The Sharks appeared to be heading for a vital away win, but they conceded the initiative, and a couple of late tries, to go down 30-34 to their hosts.

Plumtree said the players were “disappointed” that they had allowed a useful second-half lead to dribble away.

“We got pretty tired around the 55-60th minute when we faded quite quickly.

“All of our defensive indicators and measurements showed a big drop-off.

“How much of that was down to the intensity of the game and how much to jetlag, I’m not sure, but we just couldn’t maintain what we needed to do.”

Plumtree said that the Sharks had failed to stop the Waratahs’ attacking momentum in the second half.

The Sharks’ backs, sitting back on their heels in defence, made it easy for the Waratahs to cross the gainline and this brought them a couple of easy tries, which won the game.

Plumtree said there had been positives in the Sharks’ display.

“We were really pleased with our lineout. The Waratahs had far taller jumpers than us, but we won 12 out of 12 lineouts on our own throw-in.

“That’s the best we have been in the lineout and we want to build on that.”

But Plumtree was unhappy with the defence.

“It’s something we’re going to focus on now. We conceded three tries against the Reds and four against the Waratahs and that’s too many.”

Plumtree said the Sharks’ mind-set was to play attacking rugby.

“The Australian media are going nuts over how great the game was to watch compared to what they’ve seen in Sydney in the past few weeks.

“So that was good from a Waratahs’ perspective, an entertaining game for the crowd.

“But we want to win. We put a big emphasis on starting the tour with a victory and we did all the right things in our preparation during the week.

“But ultimately it wasn’t good enough and we conceded two or three soft tries. And that was really disappointing.”

The Sharks coach said that the team could not afford to make the same mistakes against Jake White’s Brumbies in Canberra on Saturday.

The Brumbies, with just one loss, are top of the Australian conference and third on the combined log.

They ended the Highlanders’ unbeaten run at the weekend and Plumtree said they would be difficult to beat on their home patch.

“You can see the South African influence coming through from Jake with the driving lineouts, their very direct rugby and their aggressive defence.

“They’re obviously focused on keeping their home ground stadium a fortress as they have in past.

“Players like George Gregan and Stephen Larkham are part of the coaching staff and are driving that philosophy.”

Plumtree said the Sharks had not performed well in Canberra in the past.

“It is a massive challenge, but if we can force our game on them, if we can be more clinical at kick-offs and perfom the basics well, then we’re a good enough side to win.”

Springbok flank Jean Deysel has joined the Sharks and Plumtree said he had provided the squad with a timely boost.

“He’s such a lovely character to have, both on and off the field, so it’s a big plus for us having him here.

“JP [Pietersen] is coming back from injury and he should be ready and we are hoping to have everyone available for Saturday.”

New Zealander Keith Brown, who penalised the Cheetahs heavily at the scrum in the closing minutes of their narrow defeat to the Brumbies in round three, will again be in charge in Canberra.

The match kicks off at 10.40 am (South African time) on Saturday.

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