‘Sharks still have something to look forward to’

Bongi Mbonambi of the Sharks. | BackpagePix

Bongi Mbonambi of the Sharks. | BackpagePix

Published Apr 16, 2024


Leighton Koopman

The Sharks will be resting some of their stalwarts for their trip to Europe where they face the Glasgow Warriors and Scarlets after a string of good results at home.

It's not been the greatest season for the men from Durban in the United Rugby Championship (URC), but they can build on the momentum they've gained over the past three weeks to finish strong in the tournament.

Bongi Mbonambi of the Sharks. | BackpagePix

They currently sit in 13th place on the URC points table, and although head coach John Plumtree conceded that their chances of making the play-offs are slim to none, they still have some pride and points to play for.

On Friday, they face Glasgow at the Scotstoun Stadium (kick-off 8.35 pm), and it will be a tough away game, but it presents a challenge to some of the young players who could get an opportunity in those conditions. The two away games could be crucial in terms of preparing the players for what awaits in London on the first weekend of May when they take on Clermont in the Challenge Cup semi-finals.

Vincent Tshituka of the Sharks. | BackpagePix

But for now, Plumtree wants to use the URC to give the fringe players more game time, while resting his top brass with an eye on Twickenham Stoop and their shot at a European final.

“There might be some changes, some of the guys have had a big workload, so we will freshen a few up,” Plumtree said.

“The URC is gone for us, but we still want to do well every weekend. We are going to look at the workloads, not just of our front row but other guys over the season too. It will be great to freshen up a few bodies.

“It doesn’t matter which team we put out, the expectation is that the boys do their best for the franchise and club. We have something to look forward to which is way better than not having anything to look forward to.”

At least two South African sides, the Bulls and Stormers, could benefit from a Sharks win in Glasgow. They are chasing the Scottish club for the second spot on the log and with the Warriors having to still travel to South Africa, a victory for the Sharks could play into the hands of their countrymen.

At the weekend, the Sharks’ attack and defence were excellent against Edinburgh, they will want to build on it. The weather in Glasgow might limit the attacking chances, but they will be tested on defence.

With that comes discipline. They conceded several penalties and they will have to do better by limiting the opportunities they give away.