Sharks coach John Plumtree is hoping that his team can build some “momentum” when they take on the Bulls in their final Super 14 pre-season hit-out in Durban on Wednesday.
Having sent in a second-string selection to face the Pumas – a replacement game for the canned Dubai encounter with the Cheetahs – and then having had to settle for an internal trial last Friday, this week’s showdown with the Bulls is their only real test against Super 14 quality opposition.
Not surprising then he will be looking to field as close as possible to his best combination – the one that will start the Super 14 campaign against the Stormers on February 14 – when the Bulls arrive on Wednesday.
One of the frontline stars set to be unleashed on the Bulls is Springbok hooker Bismarck du Plessis, who is making good progress after undergoing surgery when he injured his knee against Scotland in November.
Plumtree could name the Bok hooker, Du Plessis, along with players on the way back from injury – like flank Jacques Botes, as well as props Deon Carstens and Tendai Mtawarira – against the Bulls.
Another Bok prop, tighthead Jannie du Plessis, is a doubtful starter as a result of a stiff back.
“The main goal would be to get some momentum, some team flow,” Plumtree told Rugby365.com’s Jan De Koning, when asked about his plans for Wednesday’s game.
“We will look at things in terms of our attack and with our defence,” he said, adding that it would obviously be a “step up” in terms of intensity.
“We are looking forward to a good hard hit-out,” he added.
The Sharks coach said they had spend a lot of time working on both defence and attack in the pre-season.
“So far we have put a bigger emphasis on the conditioning side of it. Strategy wise and tactics wise we are really catching up quick,” Plumtree said.Tweet