Sharks coach John Plumtree says that the 34-20 win over the Cheetahs at the weekend was their best attacking performance of the year but was quick to add that his team would have to improve further if they are to derail a Stormers outfit that has won 10 matches on the trot.
“The pressure was on us to put in a polished performance based on sustained, efficient attack if we were to win in Bloemfontein, and we largely got that right,” the coach said.
“It was good to see us finish off most of the opportunities we created but we have to get even slicker if we are to win on Saturday.”
The Stormers are top of the overall standings on 49 points and in the SA Conference they lead the Bulls (47) and the Sharks (41). The Durbanites made up ground on the Bulls, who lost to the Highlanders, and can move within striking distance of the Stormers if they win at Kings Park.
“It helped us on the log that the Bulls lost but we don’t want to be relying on anyone else’s results and will focus on what we’re doing in our own performances,” Plumtree said.
“We are starting to get our breakdown work right, the backs are doing their job and the forwards are providing good go-forward ball.
“And we have to be even better against a very confident Stormers side. We need no reminding of the size of the challenge ahead of us.”
The Sharks returned from Bloemfontein yesterday with concern over centre Tim Whitehead, who has aggravated an old groin injury.
“We’re a little worried about Tim but it is the type of injury that can only be fully judged later in the week,” the coach said. Lock Steven Sykes, who came off the field injured, is reportedly fine, while Patrick Lambie, who missed the trip because of a bad dose of flu coupled with concussion concerns, should be good to go.
“He was really close to playing against the Cheetahs but getting the flu late in the week didn’t help.”
l The Sharks travel to Joburg on June 2 to face the Lions before a three-week break from Super Rugby for the Test series against England.