‘We were pretty conservative, but we have to unleash the demon,’ says Plumtree

2013-03-11 00:00

A FEAR of defeat is inhibiting the Sharks, coach John Plumtree said after his side again failed to score a try in winning their third successive Super Rugby game at the weekend.

The Sharks beat the brave Southern Kings 21-12 in Port Elizabeth on Saturday night, but for the second week in a row, relied on the kicking of Pat Lambie to see them home.

The previous week, the Sharks flyhalf kicked four penalties in their 12-6 win over the Stormers. At the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, he scored all 21 points (six penalties and a drop).

“It looks like we are a bit scared to lose,” Plumtree said as he reflected on the win.

“We were pretty conservative, but we have to unleash the demon and start playing some good rugby.”

Plumtree said the players were fully aware that they had to score tries if they were to be title contenders and he was confident there would be an improvement in the weeks ahead.

“In this competition, unless you score some tries, you are not going to win it and we know that. We have some time to fix that up and we will get better.”

Plumtree paid tribute to the quality of the Kings’ defence.

“I don’t want to do the Kings any injustice. They were outstanding in defence. I didn’t think we would run away with it coming down here because Super Rugby is tough and the Kings have a point to prove.

“They have some proud guys in their team, so let’s give them some credit. We were pretty poor, but they were up for it.”

The Kings, who have proved their worth in defence, are now also looking to improve on attack.

“Yes, the defensive system was again effective, but we need to do more with our possession,” said lock and captain Darron Nell.

“The boys gave it a good effort,” he said. “We could not keep ball in hand long enough, but there was no lack of effort in defence, so that was great.

“Every week we want to grow and want to learn from every match, so we will look at the video on Monday [today] and see where we went wrong.

“On defence, the guys are sharp and keen, and working hard, but we need a bit more composure with ball in hand and that will come with experience.”

The Sharks next face a major challenge in Durban when they take on the log-leading, unbeaten Brumbies at King’s Park on Saturday evening (5.05 pm).

Jake White’s Brumbies thumped the Waratahs 35-6 at the weekend and, while they will travel to South Africa in confident mood, they have suffered a major blow with Wallaby flank David Pocock ruled out for the season.

The world-class flank suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament playing against the Waratahs and he has been ruled out for six months. This means he will also miss the Wallbies’ home series against the touring British Lions.

“To hurt my knee so early in the season is obviously disappointing, particularly considering how well the team has been playing,” Pocock told reporters.

Pocock was considered a possible Wallaby captain. He will be replaced in the Brumbies line-up by Test veteran George Smith.

White said the loss of Pocock was a major setback but welcomed Smith’s return to the Brumbies.

“It shows you how fate plays out. It’s just fantastic how things have worked out now that George has arrived,” White told reporters.

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