DURBAN – The Hurricanes had never beaten the Sharks in Durban in the 25 years of Super Rugby until the weekend and their coach, John Plumtree said the key was getting stuck into the Sharks physically and ruffling their feathers.
The game was a mean-spirited, ill-tempered affair with constant blow-ups between the players. Both sides refused to budge an inch, and with the Sharks not enjoying the physical dominance that had been predicted, they battled to get their game going for periods of the game.
The Sharks sunk to a 3-20 deficit after just 20 minutes but fought back valiantly to 17-20 before the game got away from them in the final quarter.
“Physicality was always going to be the key to winning... Absolutely,” Plumtree admitted. “We read and heard plenty about what they were going to bring to the game (physically) so that added fuel to our fire, which was great.
“For us as a Hurricanes team to come over here and win in Durban for the first time since Super Rugby started is very special,” Plumtree acknowledged.
The Sharks leave for Buenos Aires tomorrow to play a Jaguares side that has just finished their Australasian tour unbeaten (for the second year in a row) and are comfortable leaders of the SA Conference.
If the Sharks hope to make the quarter-finals, they have to win on Saturday in the most hostile of environments and then again the following week in their round robin finale against the Stormers in Cape Town.
Plumtree, having played both the Jaguares (and lost) and the Sharks in recent weeks is in a good position to evaluate the Sharks’ chances of winning this week.
“Look the Jaguares are a very good side. They are also really niggly around the breakdowns with their physicality, but the Sharks can match all of that and do a job on the Jaguares,” the former Sharks coach said.@MikeGreenaway67