Plumtree: ‘All four semi-final teams could win the Currie Cup’

2010-10-11 00:00

IT is, says Sharks coach John Plumtree, like a choice of vegetable when deciding whether he would prefer to be playing the Blue Bulls or Western Province in the Currie Cup semi-finals in Durban on Saturday.

The Sharks, disjointed and lacking in intensity, were beaten 33-21 by Western Province in the final round of the Currie Cup at Newlands at the weekend. The victory sealed second place and a home semi-final for Province against the Free State Cheetahs, while the Sharks, well clear at the top of the log, meet the champion Blue Bulls in the first semi-final in Durban on Saturday.

Plumtree said it does not matter who will face the Sharks in the semi-finals.

“All four semi-final teams are capable of winning the Currie Cup.

“It’s much the same as asking if you want cabbage or brussels sprouts — it’s one and the same thing. In the play-offs you only need one moment of magic, or one big moment to capture the match,” he said.

Plumtree said that Province, chasing a home semi-final, were the hungrier team.

“I thought Province played very well. They dominated through their loose forwards and they put up a good all-round display.

“They were playing for a home semi-final so they had lots to play for.”

Plumtree said he was disappointed in the Sharks’ response.

“We couldn’t get going and we could not pick up any momentum. The result was that Province clearly dominated the territory.”

The Sharks, fielding an all-Bok front-row, failed to exert any pressure in the scrums. “Even with the return of our Springbok front-rowers we did not dominate … Province still had some pretty decent players up front.”

But the Sharks were also out-muscled on the gainline and at the breakdown and Plumtree said it is an area that they would be working on this week ahead of the Bulls’ clash. “Our halfbacks didn’t get quality ball because our forwards struggled, so there wasn’t much going to be coming from them.”

The Sharks are confident they will have their two influential loose forwards, Keegan Daniel and Willem Alberts, fit for the semi-final. They are hoping that hooker Bismarck du Plessis, who limped off with a sore ankle late in the game, will also be ready for the Bulls game.

Western Province coach Allister Coetzee said he was delighted with the way his team had responded to the challenge after they had twice lost badly to the Sharks (in the Super 4 and the Currie Cup) earlier this year.

“This was a very pleasing result, especially ahead of the semi-final play-offs. I’m also pleased to say we showed a big improvement and we were up on our physical intensity.

“The defence showed up well and we made some big hits. This team has character, but the job of winning the Currie Cup is not done yet.

“We left a few scoring opportunities out there, but a pleasing feature was that we scrummed well as against a highly rated Sharks tight five,” said Coetzee.

Meanwhile Province’s hooker, Deon Fourie, was yesterday cited for dangerous play during Saturday’s clash at Newlands.

He will appear before a SA Rugby Union judiciary at a time and date to be announced today after he was cited under Law 10.4 (M) for an act contrary to good sportsmanship. Fourie allegedly attacked the face of Sharks hooker Bismarck du Plessis in the 61st minute.

Weekend fixtures:

Sharks vs Blue Bulls, 2.30pm

Province vs Free State, 5pm

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