The Super Rugby season for the Sharks will start with a very important conference match against a Cheetahs side that will be confident and hoping to get their season off to a good start. The Sharks will understand this more than any other team. John Plumtree emphasises that with the conference games and the way the Super Rugby works that derby games will be the most important games to win.
“You have to get off to a good start and maintain some momentum throughout the competition, the situation we put ourselves in last year was not good enough and needs to be avoided. The conferences will be an important factor in this, with how the Super Rugby is set up it’s the easiest route to the finals. You want to win every game, but it’s pretty hard to do that in this competition and that is why the conference games are hugely important and I’m sure all the South African franchises are talking about that.”
The Sharks have built great depth in the team with a few new additions in the midfield over the past few years and young talented players coming through in key positions, but although the Sharks should go into this game as reasonable favourites given this depth and their run to the finals in last year’s competition, the Sharks will be weary of a strong and fresh Cheetahs team with a very exciting backline.
“They also have a few players coming back from injury and they definitely have a strong team. Last year they won quite a few of their games away from home, they beat the Hurricanes and racked up quite a few impressive wins. They will be confident and they will knock a few teams over this year, especially in Bloemfontein. It’s always been a tough fixture. They can play from all areas of the field. They can contest ball at line-outs and put teams on pressure. It’s going to be a big start for us.” Says Plumtree.
It is no wonder the Sharks won’t be taking any chances with their team selection for this game and John Plumtree pointed out that experience was the emphasis in making his decisions, especially in the tight five where he pointed out that experience will count for the most on the day. In the backline it would seem that the Cheetahs’ speed and threat on attack was the biggest consideration and Plumtree indicated that they will be ready defensively.
It’s been a long pre-season and the players can’t wait for the competition to start. Both teams will be at their best, and for the Cheetahs this must be an advantage as they usually struggle with depth at some point in the season. Getting a win here will be hugely important to the success of their season, just so the Sharks would want to ensure a win to start their season with some momentum, a loss could be the start of an uphill battle in a long season.Tweet