Plumtree: Sharks showed big character to turn lemon of a season around

2010-05-12 00:00

THE character shown by the Sharks players under the most adverse circumstances has been the highlight of the Super 14 campaign, head coach John Plumtree said yesterday.

The Sharks lost their first five games this season and their detractors had a field day. But the Sharks’ 20-14 win over the fancied Stormers at the weekend was their sixth victory in the last seven outings.

“What I’m proud of is that everyone just wrote us off. There was all that talk of the squad disintegrating and that we would end the Super 14 season as the wooden spoonists.

“None of that proved true. The response of the players and the character they showed in turning the season around has been the highlight of the season,” Plumtree said.

“We’ve grown as a team and our framework in defence, and even an improvement in our attack, has been really encouraging.”

He said the Sharks were unfortunate that a number of key players went down with injury.

“And if you lose three or four games in this competition, you will struggle. We were beaten five in a row, but we kept on fighting and, at the end, we can say we held our heads up high. If we can beat the Force on Friday, we would have won seven of our last eight games, and that would have been an improvement on last year.”

The Sharks produced a performance of high intensity to beat the Stormers at the weekend, and Plumtree said the challenge is now to repeat that effort in the final game against the Western Force at King’s Park on Friday night.

“Our mind-set is obviously crucial. There will still be a fair amount of motivation and the players will want to end off well for Johann Muller and Deon Carstens.” The two Springbok tight forwards, currently sidelined by injury, are leaving the Sharks after years of service.

“They are still part of our squad and campaign, and I think the players will want to honour them.”

Plumtree said the outing against the Stormers had been like a final for the Sharks.

“Ironically, we’re in better shape physically now than after we played the Bulls. The defence was brutal against the Stormers and that was impressive, but now we have to follow that up.

“We’ve had two big South African derbies and it is not difficult to get up for those. Against the Force there are other reasons for wanting to do well and each individual has to make sure he is ready.”

The Sharks coach said that the Force, though down in 12th place on the log, will be dangerous.

“This is their Test match on tour. They will respond after losing to the Cheetahs [in Bloemfontein on Saturday] — and they have beaten some big teams, including the Stormers outfit, this season.

“When they are under pressure, that Aussie fighting spirit comes out. Their problem, perhaps, is that after they have won they struggle to get back up again.”

The Sharks are expecting another physical battle, he said, especially at the breakdown where the Force have an international loose forward trio.

“If they get their heads up, and play well, it’s going to be a real battle. We know that we have to arrive for the occasion and fronting up, as we did against the Stormers, is key,” he said.

The match kicks off at 7.10 pm and South African referee Pro Legoete, who handled the second half of the Sharks-Cheetahs game after Jonathan Kaplan fell ill, will take charge.

Another referee from the reserve panel, Australian Paul Marks (remember the name?), is also back in favour and will blow the Blues-Chiefs match, while Kaplan is the referee at Newlands for the Stormers’ big game against the Bulls’ reserves.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/World
 

WATCH: Man films himself going down water slide upside down as things go very wrong…

What is at first an exciting tummy-turning adventure stunt, quickly turns into a scarily bad idea caught on camera. Take a look:

 
 

You won't want to miss...

WATCH: Conor McGregor: Notorious the trailer
Best date night restaurants in South Africa
WATCH: Ryan Reynolds offers fans a free tattoo in new Deadpool 2 teaser
Should you date your co-worker?
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.