In a recent interview with Rugby365, Sharks coach John Plumtree has pointed to a greater sense of responsibility – and a higher standard of play – from his seniors as the main catalyst behind the Sharks’ revival in this year’s Super Rugby tournament. None, to my mind, epitomises that change more so than red-hot three-quarter JP Pietersen.
JP scored a cracking individual try against the Stormers on Saturday to arguably put the result of that semi-final clash beyond doubt. Just a week prior to that, it was again Pietersen who’s superb finishing made the Sharks’ opening try against the Reds look so easy.
An interesting statistic emerges from all this. Going back to the match against the Lions at Coca-Cola Park (which the Sharks lost, despite a Pietersen try), JP has scored a try in six of his last eight outings. In fact, the only game in which he hasn’t dotted down where the first test against England at Kings Park and the Sharks’ final Super Rugby league match against the Cheetahs. In that latter game, though, he was voted man of the match despite not getting on the score sheet as an individual.
We’ve been told that the bookies are not particularly confident about a Sharks victory, but for those of you keen to have a flutter, why not see if you can find decent odds on JP getting onto the score sheet again this weekend? I’ll make an early prediction that should our man – be he at wing or centre – score his seventh try in nine start this weekend, the Sharks will in all likelihood return from New Zealand with the Super Rugby trophy.Tweet