Upbeat Sharks still have work to do

2011-04-11 00:00

THE Sharks were good but not yet good enough to challenge for Super Rugby honours, coach John Plumtree and captain John Smit agreed after Saturday night’s 27-3 win over the Lions at King’s Park.

The Sharks were the only South African franchise to win at the weekend and they made up ground on the Stormers, beaten at Newlands, and overtook the Bulls, thumped by the Crusaders, on the Super Rugby log.

Plumtree and Smit were delighted with “the crucial win”.

“Gaining a bonus point [for four tries] was really first prize,” said Plumtree, adding that he was encouraged at the way the players reacted to the pressure he had placed them under during the week.

“They had to stand up [after three defeats] and there was an improvement in the lineout and in the defence, areas we had worked on during the week.”

But, added Plumtree, the players had still not been patient enough on attack and far too many errors were made.

Smit said the players had reacted positively after losing to the Stormers.

“With our bye next week [the Sharks will be awarded four log points], we were playing for nine points against the Lions.”

Smit said that the win was a step, a small one, in the right direction.

“We are getting there, but there are still too many mistakes in launching moves and in our accuracy.”

Plumtree said the Sharks were certainly not yet playing the quality rugby needed to beat a team like the Crusaders.

“We have to improve in all areas if we are to do some serious damage later in the competition.”

The Sharks coach was particularly pleased with the powerful impact made by wing JP Pietersen and replacement centre Adi Jacobs. Willem Alberts and Bismarck du Plessis were at their destructive best while lock Steven Sykes was also prominent.

Jacobs replaced the limping Meyer Bosman after 35 minutes but Plumtree said that the injury to the centre was “just a lamey” and not serious.

The outing was centre Stefan Terblanche’s 200th game for the Sharks and Smit, who had his best game of the season, paid tribute to the 35-year-old.

“Stefan underplayed his part all week but we used his achievement as a motivating factor and showed a short video clip of him before the game.

“He’s a big part of this team and we have huge respect for him,” said Smit.

Lions coach John Mitchell was in no mood to look for a bush to beat around.

“We were poor, like a team which had not even trained and practised together. We gave away possession at the lineout and around the park.”

“You have to work hard to succeed and I don’t think we are working hard enough,” said Mitchell of the Lions’ seventh loss.

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