After a few less than impressive performances in the warm-up games, there is good news from the Sharks Tank. It appears that the Sharks are confident of a strong Super 14 campaign and the plans are falling in place.
Johan Bishop in a article on Sport 24 quoted coach Plumtree as saying that the squad had prepared well for the new seaso, but the failures of last year – the Sharks were in pole positions in both the Super 14 and the Currie Cup and then went walkabout – were still fresh in the mind.
“We are all excited about the new season and have toned down the intensity in training this week to save the legs,” he said.
“The systems are in place and we have tweaked a few things but the Super 14 remains a big challenge. We know we let ourselves down last year when we worked hard to get into good positions and then failed to produce. That has galvanised us and we hope the players have learnt and we will see a different edge to the players, not just on Saturday but right through the season.”
Plumtree also reminded rugby fans that the Sharks had a talented squad “if the players and the team play to their potential.”
Plumtree said the Chiefs, who were beaten by the Bulls in the final of the Super 14 last year, would challenge the Sharks across the park.
“They have always had brilliant, entertaining backs and last year they got to the final and you can’t do that without a good pack. They are usually slow starters in this competition but the success of last year will have given them confidence. They will be looking to start strongly on tour to set themselves up for a good season.”
Plumtree believes the changing approach to the laws – governing the breakdown and off-side in chasing kicks – should provide more of a spectacle though the humid Durban conditions will make it difficult for players to hold on to the ball.
While the two pre-season friendly defeats had provided the Sharks’ critics with ammunition, Plumtree said they had also helped in sorting out a number of problems.
People are making a song and dance about our scrum, so we’ve got to show them different,” he added.
“There is an excitement and determination in the squad. We started so well last year but when things went pear-shaped, we didn’t know how to react.
Saturday’s opener kicks off at 19:10.
[Information from article by Johan Bishop appeared on Sport24.co.za]