Easy does it, Plum

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Currie Cup, Original Content, Sharks on 7 Sep 2010 at 09:54
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While post-match statements attributed to Sharks coach John Plumtree would appear to suggest sweeping changes to the Sharks team to face the Pumas on Friday night, the coach would be wise to cool his heels a little before making any rash decisions to drop the core of his “complacent” squad.

The reasons here are twofold. Firstly, as a result of an injury or two, as well as a few belated call-ups to the Bok conditioning program, we’re going to lose a few guys anyway and have to make some changes. Plum is going to find his resources stretched like never before in this campaign, particularly upfront. The other concerning factor is that the Pumas are no pushovers, as the Bulls discovered two weeks ago. The Sharks struggled to beat them in Durban and sending anything even vaguely resembling a weakened side to Witbank (or Nelspruit, or wherever) to play these guys on Friday night could lead to the unthinkable.

The loss to the Bulls was a setback, but not a tragedy. Losing to the Pumas would throw the campaign into complete disarray and Plumtree, to my mind, needs to be pragmatic here. Securing five points on Friday night is the first and only goal for me. Any players needing to be taught a lesson about complacency will, of necessity, enjoy a stay of execution as I don’t feel Plum currently has the depth in his squad to really make the lesson stick.

Looking at the team, we’re going to be forced to pitch Pat Cilliers straight back into the cauldron of Currie Cup rugby from the club ranks and it’s not going to make life any easier knowing that he’ll be up against the 400kg Ronnie Uys either. Cilliers is believed to have fallen out of favour with the coaches a little of late due to perceived weaknesses in his scrumming technique. He’ll need to show this weekend that those concerns are unfounded. Making matters worse – at least from a scrum stability point of view – is that he won’t have an experienced scrumming hooker next to him, as Craig Burden looks set to come back in for Bismarck du Plessis. That’s already two forced changes to the tight five and to my mind, that means Plum simply cannot afford to tinker with his lock pairing and give a hungry youngster like Anton Bresler a start in this game. A further change will need to come at 8, with Keegan Daniel unlikely to be fit, but there is a silver lining here in that Ryan Kankowski should be able to slot straight back in.

It’s the backs that were perhaps the most disappointing on Saturday, though and with Rory Kockott not doing anything to put pressure on Charl McLeod, expect the number 9 jersey to remain on the Wonderboom lad’s back. Plumtree may want to give Pat Lambie a rest, following a poor showing, but I would resist the temptation. Flyhalves need to grow and settle and you simply cannot drop a guy after a single mediocre performance. Andre Pretorius, to my mind, did little at Loftus to prove that he deserves more than another bench spot.

If anything, changes further out should be limited to a bit of tinkering, with Riaan Swanepoel doing enough to take back the number 12 jersey from Dries Strauss. A fair amount will depend on whether Louis Ludik is fit (and back three depth is now becoming a huge issue), but I feel the Sharks can’t afford to continue with Monty Dumond at fullback. Ludik in for Monty in a straight swap, if the former is fit, but should the former Lion not be ready, I’d move Odwa Ndungane to the back, let Stef Terblanche play wing and bring in a keen youngster like Piet Lindeque to have a go in the number 13 jersey.

Whatever the case, the Sharks have certainly complicated their lives by giving away the Pretoria points and will need to come out firing and put in a strong performance against the Pumas on Friday night to get things back on track.


  • Or Stef at 15, but Monty simply isn’t cutting the mustard at 15. I would love to see how many high kicks we regained. We simply gave away too much possession.

  • Comment 1, posted at 07.09.10 10:10:20 by Baldrick Reply
  • I agree. We should go down with a full on artillery and try and get as many points (win, bonus and points difference) while we still have a shot at goal!

  • Comment 2, posted at 07.09.10 10:10:24 by Ice Reply
    Competition Winner Ice
  • How many changes can he really make? I mean we haven`t got anyone better available.

  • Comment 3, posted at 07.09.10 10:39:51 by Original Log Leader Reply
    Original Pierre
  • Maybe just MAYBE Plum has made the big hoohaa about complacency so that he has an excuse to rest his top players aginst the Leopard and Pumas?

  • Comment 4, posted at 07.09.10 10:44:33 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 4) : The Pumas proved against the Bulls you rest your ” top ” players against them at your peril . . .

    I feel a Hail Mary Bet coming up . . . 😈

  • Comment 5, posted at 07.09.10 10:46:27 by Original Log Leader Reply
    Original Pierre
  • @Original Log Leader (Comment 5) :


  • Comment 6, posted at 07.09.10 10:49:58 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • Glad to see some of what I said last night made enough sense.. Lol!

  • Comment 7, posted at 07.09.10 11:03:09 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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    Richard Ferguson
  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 7) :

    When is that being posted BTW, i wanna listen to it.

  • Comment 8, posted at 07.09.10 11:08:29 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 7) : haha… Sorry to steal your thunder!

    @KSA Shark © (Comment 8) : Will be up tomorrow morning

  • Comment 9, posted at 07.09.10 11:37:57 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • So Ronnie Uys has lost some weight?

  • Comment 10, posted at 07.09.10 12:12:51 by rhineshark Reply
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  • Pretories at 10, Lambie at 15. If he fails to deliver then move Lambie back to 10. But to have 2 playmakers of that caliber in the team is worth the risk. Maybe Hoffman at 12?

  • Comment 11, posted at 07.09.10 12:13:04 by Zebra Reply

  • @rhineshark (Comment 10) : LOL 🙂

  • Comment 12, posted at 07.09.10 12:19:06 by robdylan Reply
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  • @Zebra (Comment 11) : I cannot disagree more! Lambie is a good fullback, but potentially a GREAT flyhalf. You don’t drop flyhalves after one poorer-than-average showing.

    Lambie on a bad day is still miles better than any other flyhalf option open to the Sharks,

  • Comment 13, posted at 07.09.10 12:20:40 by robdylan Reply
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  • Waa gan Adi speel… 😯

  • Comment 14, posted at 07.09.10 12:45:56 by Charlie Reply

  • I’ve heard rave reviews about Piet Lindeque although not seen him in action myself. Stefan is only a makeshift 13 so might be a good time to blood a youngster. Do agree with you that the Pumas are no pushover, we struggled to finish them off in Durban.

    By the way, when is Adi back?

  • Comment 15, posted at 07.09.10 13:28:18 by Villie Reply
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  • It’s quite bad that “Pat fell out of favour with the coaches becuase of scrummaging weaknesses.” Wasn’t it him and Craig and ? who destroyed the bulls in the first round? ❓

  • Comment 16, posted at 07.09.10 13:34:56 by SharksRTB Reply

  • @SharksRTB (Comment 16) : Agree with you. I definitely wouldn’t regard Pat’s inclusion as weakening our squad. In Cilliers, Herbst and van Staden plus Burden and Cooper we have decent front row options. No worries.

  • Comment 17, posted at 07.09.10 13:43:32 by rhineshark Reply
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  • @rhineshark (Comment 17) : Yeah. I am not worried about 1-5 that much. Problems start at 6 and 7 (Keegan-possibly out injured- and Jean-already out injured-) and then 12 – 13. Still the biggest headache. And please let Ludik be fit. I can’t take this Full Monty crap no more. I always thought that he is better than what most people think of him. But the last couple of weeks I have changed my mind drastically.

  • Comment 18, posted at 07.09.10 13:48:52 by SharksRTB Reply

  • @SharksRTB (Comment 18) : As far as our loosies go, luckily both our number 8’s can play flank. Botes will have to play 6 for 80 minutes, which isn’t a problem if he stays injury free. Daniel should be back soon.

    I also reckon Monty isn’t a fullback’s arse, but he has hardly played there so no wonder. If Ludik isn’t fit I would put Oupa at 15 and Strauss/Swannie at 12/13. Odwa/Mvovo on the wings.

    Later on in the game Pretoors can go to 10, Lambie 12, Swannie 13.

    Or give one of the U21 centres a run off the bench. We don’t really have much of a choice until Adi comes back.

  • Comment 19, posted at 07.09.10 14:03:00 by rhineshark Reply
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  • @Charlie (Comment 14) : Waneer gaan Adie speel you mean? 😈

  • Comment 20, posted at 07.09.10 14:54:54 by Original Pierre In Mourning Reply
    Original Pierre
  • John Plumtree is the most confusing person in the world ,why is monty dumond playing fullback why is stefan captain let hargreaves be captain his going to mess up but it will be part of his learning process his much smarter than stefan

  • Comment 21, posted at 07.09.10 19:09:41 by zvision10 Reply

  • Monty did kick to much possesion away. I hope Ludik is up and about by the time we play the Cheetahs. The same with Keegan, hope he comes back even sooner 😈

  • Comment 22, posted at 08.09.10 07:19:49 by Jarson Reply
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  • i would rather have lambie, mvovo, swannie, dries, odwa, stefan. stefan needs to be punished for being greedy on saturday. move him to the back to cool his heels. and rory i would have as far away from witbank as possible.

  • Comment 23, posted at 08.09.10 07:26:48 by try time Reply

  • @Jarson (Comment 22) : Thing with Monty is that he is average and average players never have a bad game because we never see them have a great game! He shouldn’t be at the Sharks and I can’t see him being kept around much longer. Not sure how the contratcing works, but if we renew his contract there is something seriously wrong. Liked the form that Ludik was picking up in the rounds building up to the Bulls game. We missed him big time.

  • Comment 24, posted at 08.09.10 07:57:44 by blueski palooski Reply

    blueski palooski
  • @Original Pierre In Mourning (Comment 20) : :mrgreen:

  • Comment 25, posted at 08.09.10 08:27:28 by Charlie Reply


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