fast little loans
When it comes to the Southern Kings, there is hardly a bank of information waiting to be analysed given that they have played just one Super Rugby game, and that is why the Sharks have to focus on themselves when they travel to Port Elizabeth on Saturday.
The Sharks were pleased with their defensive effort against the Stormers, who they beat 12-6, but coach John Plumtree reckons his side should offer more on attack at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
“In saying that, looking at the Kings, their set piece and defence statistics are right up there at Super Rugby standard,” the coach said. “That shows that they are certainly capable. I don’t think the Force expected it and they ended up on the receiving end, so good on the Kings.
“If you look at their side, there are a lot of seasoned campaigners plus some young guys who are pretty enthusiastic, and when you put it all together you end up with a good performance,” Plumtree said.
He rated the game of flyhalf Demetri Catrakilis and said the Kings’ set piece was solid against the Force.
“I thought their line-outs and scrummaging functioned really well. I like their fullback, SP Marias, he looked really good and reminded me of an Israel Dagg-type player. They have a solid midfield with Andries Strauss and Ronnie Cooke. They’re a capable side, definitely, they should do alright in the competition.”
Plumtree said the same match 22 that won in Bloemfontein and again in Durban last week would do duty in Port Elizabeth.
“Let’s hope we can stay relatively injury-free till our boys come back from injury and then there will be some rotation. We had some sore bodies after the Stormers game. A few players commented that it was the hardest game they’ve ever played in terms of physicality. It shows what a tough fixture it was.”
The two derby games the Sharks have played against the Cheetahs and Stormers have got the physical intensity right up where Plumtree wants it.
“We’ve had two big games now after a relatively quiet pre-season and the boys are feeling battle-hardened,” he said. “We’re not entirely happy with our game from an attack perspective – obviously our defence is coming on and I was really happy with our kicking game – but our attacking game is not quite there yet. But it will grow and get better and we’ll work really hard on it this week.”
Having said that, the ball the Sharks received on the weekend was slow and there was a lot going on at the breakdown. The Stormers were not shy to counter-ruck and that drew in Sharks players that could have been used on the attack.
“Fast ball is what (flyhalf) Pat Lambie wants. It’s obviously not ideal for Pat to get slow ball because it makes it pretty hard to run off, so we just have to make sure we will get better.” - The Star