Sharks coach John Plumtree says he will only know in a week whether the Sharks had indeed enjoyed the “perfect dress rehearsal” for the play-offs.
John Bishop writes for The Witness that there were lessons, one in each half, for the Sharks at King’s Park on Saturday as they cemented their place at the top of the Currie Cup log at the weekend.
While the other contenders took a bumpy road to the semi-finals, the Sharks continued their smooth build-up with a 10-try romp and 66-12 win over the Griquas.
Showing remarkable pace
Plumtree has a couple of problems, one an injury and the other in selection.
The injury to lanky lock Albert van den Berg came minutes into the second half and after a moment of mindless rugby by JP Pietersen.
The wing, who is back to playing his best rugby and showing remarkable pace, burst through the Griquas defence and a simple pass to supporting flank Jacques Botes would have provided an easy try.
Instead Pietersen tried to beat the final Griquas tackle and, in the hectic scramble which followed, Van den Berg went down with a damaged shoulder in scoring the try.
Plumtree’s preferred pair at lock is Johann Muller and Steven Sykes but he needs the cover of Van den Berg off the bench, particularly as Alistair Hargreaves is out with calf injury.
Plumtree said he could face “a lock crisis” but he was hoping that the injury to Van den Berg was not serious and that he would be ready for the semi-finals.
The coach’s other problem will be in deciding between Keegan Daniel and Jacques Botes as his breakaway flank.
Praised efforts of Smit
Botes has been in excellent form this year but has been relatively quiet in recent weeks and just at a time when Daniel ‘s star is rising.
Daniel, named man-of-the-match on Saturday, scored three tries – although the second should have been disallowed by the television referee because his arm was in touch.
The Sharks’ Pietersen and the sublime Ryan Kankowksi picked up where they left off at Ellis Park, cutting the defences to pieces, and it was significant that they were the first to be taken off minutes into the second half.
Plumtree also praised the efforts of captain John Smit, who played 80 minutes first at hooker and then prop, and Daniel for his “outstanding form at the moment.”Tweet