Sharks'forwards to work on line-outs

2012-02-27 00:00

SHARKS coach John Plumtree is happy with his revamped backline, but he is looking for an improved showing from his forwards in Saturday night’s Super Rugby outing against the Stormers at Newlands.

The Sharks were downed 18-13 by the Bulls in round one at Loftus on Friday night and Plumtree said yesterday he was “very disappointed with our performance”.

“All the backs played really well, all of them,” he said. “JP Pietersen and Tim Whitehead in the midfield were impressive and Lwazi Mvovo and Louis Ludik were also good.”

But Plumtree is not happy with aspects of the Sharks’ forward game.

“We didn’t perform basics of game accurately enough. The scrum was not a problem but we couldn’t get our game going because we lost five lineouts. That was probably the biggest problem but we also gave away a few stupid penalties.”

Plumtree did praise the Bulls’ kicking game.

“They peppered us with contestable kicks and built pressure from that. Take nothing away from them. They were pretty good at that and caught us behind the advantage line a few times.”

Plumtree said the Sharks would also focus on their discipline after they lost the penalty count 14-6.

“We’ll be looking to improve dramatically in that area against the Stormers. You cannot afford to make that many mistakes.”

He said that the expansive game played by the Sharks in the closing stages confirmed the way forward for the squad. “The way we played in those last couple of minutes is what makes us formidable opponents and that’s how we want to play this season.”

Captain Keegan Daniel agreed said the Sharks had lost focus under pressure in the second half and conceded far too many penalties to Bulls goal-kicker Morné Steyn.

“That’s where the match was lost,” Daniel said.

Plumtree said that number eight Ryan Kankowski (damaged thumb) was an injury concern ahead of the Newlands game.

“Louis Ludik suffered a bruised hip but Pat Lambie is fine,” the Sharks coach said in reference to the heavy knock that the Sharks flyhalf took to the head going into the final quarter.

The Stormers, 39-26 victors over the Hurricanes at the weekend, have lost their captain and Springbok flank Schalk Burger to a knee ligament injury. They have, however, been boosted by reports that flyhalf Peter Grant is on his way home from Japan.

Saturday’s game kicks off at 7.10 pm.

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