Sharks coach John Plumtree seems to have started something of a war of words with his New Zealand compatriots, after appearing to suggest that the South African conference is the toughest in Super Rugby.
Plumtree’s comments, made off the cuff after the Bulls game, hinted at a level of frustration at the physical – more often brutal – nature of South African conference encounters, that tend to result in less attractive rugby overall. Reading between the lines, I think the coach was bemoaning the fact that whilst Australian and Kiwi sides tend to try and play constructive rugby against one another, local teams tend to revert to the ‘physical slog’ stereotype as they try to beat the crap out of each other!
Anyway, regardless of what Plum actually said – or meant when he said it – it’s been interpreted as a right old whinge at the perceived weakness of the other conferences relative to the South African one; a point with which Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder has a serious issue.
The former back-rower points to recent upset results in the Kiwi conference to substantiate his claim that it is certainly no less tough, or competitive than the South African one. Scrumhalf Andy Ellis goes a step further in suggesting that while the Australian and South African conferences do indeed contain a weaker side or two, the same cannot be said of the Kiwi draw, which he feels is clearly the toughest.
Not expecting Plum to be bought too many beers in his old country, in other words!Tweet