Plumtree’s act will be a hard one to follow

2013-07-24 00:00

JOHN Plumtree’s Currie Cup success with the Sharks in recent years has added to the pressures on the new coaching staff, Sean Everitt admitted yesterday.

Everitt is the backline coach with Brad Macleod-Henderson in charge of the forwards while the pair will report to Brendan Venter, the Sharks’ new director of rugby.

Everitt said yesterday that Plumtree’s Currie Cup act — four finals and two titles in five years — would be a difficult one to follow.

“Plum has done really well with the Currie Cup team in the past. There have been a number of finals as well as two titles, so obviously there is pressure on us to perform.

“But that comes with the challenge of coaching.”

Everitt said he and Macleod-Henderson were taking over a team that had been well coached.

“The squad is in a good position right now. We are going to try and implement improvements where we believe change is necessary.

“The players have responded well to the change [in coaching staff]. You can see in the mood and their enthusiasm and energy in training that they’re enjoying what they’re doing. For the coaches, it is rewarding.”

The Sharks, after missing out in the Super Rugby play-offs, have had a break, but returned to start preparing for the Currie Cup season on Monday. The current Springboks, who played in internationals during the Super Rugby break in June, have been given an extra week off.

Everitt said that the whole Sharks team, the coaches and players, were determined to succeed.

“It’s going to be a team thing. Brad [Macleod-Henderson] and I have settled in well and we’re obviously very excited about the challenge that lies ahead.

“It was good to get going on the field yesterday [Monday] and the sessions we’ve had so far have gone really well. The players are jovial and upbeat at the prospect of the upcoming Currie Cup campaign.”

The Sharks will lose a host of Springboks to the Rugby Championships, but Everitt said that the Sharks would still have a healthy mix of experience and youth.

“We have some seasoned campaigners in such players as Butch James, Marius Joubert and Louis Ludik, who is in tremendous form at the moment.

“But we also have youngsters like Fred Zeilinga and Brynard Stander coming through and they will add enthusiasm to the team.”

He said he was still not certain which Springboks would be made available for the Currie Cup.

“But obviously the more Springboks we get back, the happier we are going to be and the better the team will be.

“Some things won’t change in the team for the Currie Cup and others will. The first two games are at home — against Griquas (August 9) and the Lions (August 16) — and we’re really looking forward to the campaign starting.

“Traditionally, Griquas have been very strong in the Currie Cup so there is no underestimating them and we all know about the Lions’ capabilities. We’re going to have to get out of the blocks quickly if we are to start well in the competition,” said Everitt.

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