Sharks touch down in heatwave

2011-03-01 00:00

THE Sharks were hoping to escape the Durban heat and humidity when they travelled to Perth yesterday, but the opposite has proved true.

The Sharks arrived yesterday after a nine-hour flight from Johannesburg and have arrived in the middle of a West Australian heat wave.

“Phew,” said Sharks head coach John Plumtree yesterday. “It’s 34C and really hot here. They have had 21 consecutive days of 34 degrees heat so we’ve gone from the fat into the fire.”

Plumtree said the heat and slippery ball in Durban had not helped the Sharks in their search for tries and bonus points in their first two gamesm but they hope cooler weather in the future will help.

“We’re disappointed we didn’t get a bonus point against the Blues and we did fluff some tries. It’s about playing well enough to create try-scoring … we have to be more accurate.”

Plumtree said he has watched the video of the game and said the negatives were the missed scoring opportunities and some inaccuracy with the tackling.

“But, overall, our defence was good and I was really pleased with our intensity. I certainly thought we deserved that win.

The Sharks and the Waratahs are the only teams yet to leak a try in the competition and Plumtree said that defence was just as important as attack.

“What we saw in the Currie Cup was more tries from the breakdown but teams are getting smarter on defence. They are now not committing numbers at the breakdown and that is particularly true of the Waratahs. You need to find other ways to score tries.”

The Sharks coach said that the Force would prove a major threat and the Sharks would have to play well to beat them.

“We’ve been through video of their only game (The Force had a second-round bye). James O’Connor at flyhalf is a very fine player and centre Gene Fairbanks played for the Brumbies. They’ve also got experience in the back three with Cameron Shepherd a threat.”

Plumtree said the Force’s international backrow of David Pocock, Matt Hodgson and Richard Brown would be a exceptionally tough.

The good news is that the promising Wiehahn Herbst is back from injury and he will play in the Sharks XV’s next Vodacom Cup game.

Plumtree is hoping to have flank Jean Deysel back from an extended injury break and after an outing for the Sharks XV.

“First prize would be him joining us in Melbourne (for the Rebels game) and second prize is New Zealand,” said Plumtree.

“Third prize is having him available when we return at the end of March.”

Kick-off for Saturday’s game is 13:05 and New Zealander Keith Brown will referee the game.

 

Weekend games (home team first, SA times):

Friday:

Crusaders vs Waratahs — 08:35

Lions vs Blues — 19:10

Saturday

Chiefs vs Rebels — 08:35

Brumbies vs Reds — 10:40

Force vs Sharks — 13:05

Stormers vs Cheetahs — 17:05

Bulls vs Highlanders — 19:10

Bye: Hurricanes

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