Sharks’ win over Lions was ‘deeply satisfying’, says Plumtree

2009-08-17 00:00

BEATING one of the big boys in their own back yard is deeply satisfying. That was the response of Sharks head coach John Plumtree yesterday after his side had returned from Ellis Park with a 30-19 Currie Cup win over the Lions.

The Sharks are second on the Currie Cup log, two points behind Griquas and they meet this Saturday at King’s Park in a battle for top spot.

It was an excellent win for the Sharks over a tactically naive Lions team. In terms of possession and territory, the Lions should have won with something to spare, but they were easily contained by the committed, organised Sharks defence and the home side only scored their first points after 70 minutes.

Indeed the final scoreline flattered the Lions who were down 12-30 at the final hooter, but then scored an intercept try as the Sharks went looking for a fourth, bonus point try.

Plumtree was delighted with the Sharks defence — “until late in the game when we disappointingly started to slip some tackles” — and the counter-attacking.

“We planned to play the ball into space on attack and it worked really well in setting up those excellent first-half tries. Our counter-attacking was good and it had to be considering the little ball we were winning and our poor field position in the first half.

“It just shows that if you play the ball into space it doesn’t really matter which end of the field you are in when you attack.”

Plumtree said the form shown by Monty Dumond at flyhalf was particularly encouraging.

“I think he has surprised us all. He has worked on all areas of his game and it showed on Saturday night.”

Plumtree admitted that the scrum (without four Bok front-rowers) remained a cause for concern, though it improved markedly once replacement and Springbok Jannie du Plessis had taken the field in the second half.

“Patric Cilliers is happier on the loosehead and he is struggling at tighthead. Deon Carstens is also playing with a bit of an injury. Other teams will target us there so we have to somehow muddle through.”

He said that the Sharks had picked up a couple of light injuries — to Cilliers (hamstring strain) and the heavily involved centre Riaan Swanepoel (thigh) — while first-choice halfbacks Rory Kockott and Juan Martin Hernandez would face fitness assessments during the week.

“We also don’t know yet if we will be allowed to use our three Tri-Nations Boks (Odwa Ndungane, Ryan Kankowski and Jannie du Plessis) this Saturday,” Plumtree added.

The Boks only leave for Australia next Monday, but Plumtree said it was unlikely that they would be released.

Kankowski, who rounded off for the spectacular opening try and made the second for Craig Burden, was named man-of-the-match, but there were also powerful performances from Jean Deysel and Steve Sykes, while every Sharks player contributed to the remarkable defensive effort.

 

LOG POSITIONS AFTER SIX ROUNDS:

Griquas 24; Sharks 22; WP 20; Blue Bulls 19; Lions 15; Free State 10; Boland 5; Leopards 0.

The Sharks U21 side continued their good form with a 42-20 win over the Lions as fullback Ian Lambie succeeded with 10 out of 11 kicks (three conversions and seven penalties).

 

Page 11: Currie Cup round-up.

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