fast little loans
Durban – Sharks coach John Plumtree subscribes to the policy of rotation during the course of the marathon Super Rugby competition, but round three is too early to be resting players and an unchanged match 22 was yesterday named for the visit to the Southern Kings on Saturday.
The starting 15 that beat the Stormers in Durban last week is retained en masse, and there are no changes to the bench.
“That 22, plus backline players Riaan Viljoen and Marius Joubert, is pretty much it for us because we are carrying long-term injuries,” Plumtree said.
“Hopefully we can stay injury free until the guys who are out are ready to come back, and we can swop the battle-weary for the newly rehabilitated.”
The Sharks are missing hooker Bismarck du Plessis, prop Dale Chadwick, flyhalf/centre Butch James, centre Tim Whitehead and loose forwards Willem Alberts and Keegan Daniel.
After this week’s third consecutive SA derby, the Sharks host Aussie teams in the Brumbies and the Rebels, and then have a bye week.
“Hopefully we can get through relatively unscathed until the bye, and then we can freshen up,” Plumtree said.
The unchanged team means that Plumtree has settled on Cobus Reinach as his first-choice scrumhalf. For the third week in a row, Charl McLeod is the scrumhalf cover on the bench as the coach looks to build consistency between his No 9 and flyhalf Patrick Lambie.
If the unbeaten Sharks beat the Kings and get past the two visiting Australian teams, they will be well set up entering their bye week.
“In theory it looks great, but it could all unravel in front of our eyes if we don’t maintain our standards and make sure we are up for every game, and put in 80-minute perfor-mances each week,” Plumtree said.
“There are no easy games in Super Rugby, they are all generally pretty tight and we’re expecting another tough one this weekend.”
In saying that, the Sharks are clearly focused on what they have to do and are putting a big emphasis on improving, particularly on attack and scoring tries.
“It is about high standards and maintaining them,” Plumtree said.
“The team is mature, it’s been together for a while – we have a few babies in there, but generally the core of the team is intact.
“We’ve had some experiences in the past where we’ve dropped our guard and haven’t played very well, and that’s cost us, but we don’t want to dwell on that,” Plumtree continued.
“We want to focus on maintaining the standards we’ve set for ourselves because, at the end of the day, in a team culture your standards are your lifeblood – they run through your veins. If your standards are low, you’ll perform poorly; if they are high, you’ll perform well.
“That’s all we’re really focusing on now – making sure that everyone brings their best in their preparation and brings their best on the weekend. That’s what you want.
“Me standing up in front of the team saying ‘listen boys, this game is a potential banana-peel’… they’ve heard it all before.
“It’s about what is going through their minds and making sure collectively they are ready to go on the weekend.” – The Mercury