You have got to love John Plumtree for the way he cuts through the hot air and gets to the point.
When the Sharks coach was asked by the media yesterday about which tactics and counter-tactics will prevail at Newlands on Saturday, he said: “If one team technically or tactically dominates enough to win the game I would be surprised – it is going to be won by sheer brute force. You have two big South African teams having a mighty crack at each other. This is one of those physical battles that the Kiwi and Aussie teams watch with interest …”
As in they are pleased they are watching not playing.
“Playing at a sold-out Newlands against a home team desperate to chalk up a home win in the first round is just about as tough as it gets,” Plumtree said.
“But it is the kind of occasion that excites players and our guys are really looking forward to it.”
There is huge pressure on the Stormers to avoid last year’s horror start when they lost their first three games while the Sharks, because it is an away game for them, might feel less inhibited in their approach.
Plumtree partly agrees.
“There is certainly pressure on the Stormers, just as there is on any team playing at home,” the coach said.
“In this competition you have to win your home games if you have any intention of doing well.”
There has been much said about the superior scrumming reputation of the Sharks and Plumtree does not deny that this an area where his team hopes to get an advantage.
“The guys take pride in the way they scrum. Mark (Lawrence, the referee) has a big job in judging the scrum because we want a legal contest. There are always ways of upsetting a dominant scrum, such as collapsing and angling in. We want a straight contest.”
But in what could be a scrumming blow for the Sharks, Springbok prop Beast Mtawarira has not yet recovered from a sternum injury and could well be replaced by Deon Carstens.
Mike Greenaway – Cape TimesTweet