I am thrilled with the win against tough opponents in such testing conditions Sharks coach John Plumtree admitted after his team’s 29-22 victory over the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein. “We just had to get the win, even if it was ugly he said.
He was quoted as saying “we were very nervous about this match as we did not get everything out of our pre-season games, the players are just very happy to start with the win which will without doubt give them confidence going forward.”
“I was concerned about our ability to attack and defend for long periods. We were pretty knackered in the second half and I hope we will be better off when we play the Stormers in round two. There is lots of work to do.”
One could see both teams were rusty and so it is understandable that it was not the perfect game by any means and as the game ebbed and flowed. It showed that both teams had a lot to work on before their next encounters. ”The Sharks will face the Stormers in their next match so hard work awaits us he said.”
“We were pretty inaccurate and sloppy at the breakdown in the first half and we didn’t keep them under pressure which was pretty frustrating because it is such an important area. We also coughed up possession when we should have been getting points and that was the message at half-time – to keep the ball and we would be all right.”
Coach Plumtree had lots of praise for Vodacom Man of the Match, Pat Lambie, who delivered a faultless display of kicking, converting all seven attempts at goal and marshalling general play with a mix of tactical kicking and a good running and passing game.
“I thought he was outstanding, in his kicking at posts and in his long kicking game,” said The Sharks coach. “He did everything right in this game and he is benefiting from having experienced guys alongside him, JP on his inside and Frans outside him. He is definitely on track and he’s going to get better and better.”
He also had words of praise for the players who came off the bench and contributed at a time when The Sharks were under a lot of pressure. “The fresh legs at the end made a huge impact. Meyer Bosman made one try-saving tackle, Jean Deysel did some really big things as did Pieter-Steph du Toit. The bench was important and I thought our scrum was outstanding.”
“The lineout was also pretty good. The two hookers have worked hard with Franco van der Merwe.”
The good news on the injury front was that there were no concerns to come out of the game. “There were a couple of hard knocks and bruises and Lwazi Mvovo had to come off but everyone should be ready next weekend.”
He also praised the Cheetahs for their fighting spirit and coming close to winning the game after being down 21-5. ”I was getting ready to prepare for a losing speech”, he said. “There is no doubt the Cheetahs will be winning many games this season.”