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Plumtree: We want to talk about the standards we have set for ourselves

Written by Maria Delport (Letgo)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 6 Mar 2013 at 10:00
Tagged with : , , , ,

The Sharks have started off their campaign with two tough wins in a strong South African conference. They will go into the match against the Kings this weekend not knowing much about their opposition, but John Plumtree feels from what they have seen so far that the Kings should be competitive and the Sharks will have to improve on their standard to maintain their early season winning streak.

“They played the Force a couple of weeks ago and their stats and set piece stats are all right up there with Super Rugby standard, so it just shows you that they are certainly capable and I don’t think the Force expected it. Looking at that side there’s a lot of seasoned campaigners in that team and some young guys that are pretty enthusiastic.”

“I thought Catrakilis was really good, he played well and controlled the game really well. I thought the set piece functioned really well, their forwards, their lineouts and scrummaging (all functioned really well). I like the fullback SP Marias, he looked really good. He reminds me of an Israel Dagg type of player so that’s really good. They have a solid midfield with Andries and Ronnie Cooke in there, so they should do all right.”

The Kings have only played the one game though and Plumtree says that looking into what they do at this stage will not be the focus of the Sharks this week.

“We have only the one game to go on and that’s it, so we have to focus on ourselves and we’re not entirely happy with what we did on the weekend in terms of our attack.

“Our defence is coming on and I’m really happy with our kicking game, but from an attacking perspective we’re not quite there yet, so we’re taking some time on that area, but that will grow and just get better, we’ll work really hard on it this week.”

“Their scrum looked all right, as did their line out, so they’ll want to put pressure on us in those areas, but it’s a big part of our game too and they’ll be expecting (pressure from our side too). We have to try and focus mainly on what we’re trying to do though and not really think too much about what they are trying to do to us. It’s about us trying to improve and create opportunities, to score some tries and get our game going a bit.”

Asked what he will do to motivate the team to win week after week this year and not slip up in easier games along the way, Plumtree said the players knew all too well about the banana peel effect and him standing in front of them to try and convince them that they can lose to any team or motivate them by pointing to how good their position in the competition could be at the end of the week or the end of the bye is not the way to go.

“We could look at it that way and say that’s great (to go into the bye week with a couple of wins under your belt), but at the end of the day it could all unravel in front of your eyes if you don’t maintain those standards and make sure you go full at every game and play an 80 minute performance in every match.

“We always feel that pressure. You want to win all your games. That doesn’t really happen too often in Super Rugby. All we want to talk about is our standards and maintaining our standards. We have a mature side, it’s been together for a fair while now. We have had some experience in the past where we’ve played well and dropped our guard and haven’t played really well and it’s cost us. We don’t want to talk about that too much, we just want to talk about the standards that we have set for ourselves.

“At the end of the day a team’s standards are their lifeblood that flows through their veins, if your standards are low then you’ll perform low, if your standards are high you will perform high. That’s what we’re focussing on right now. Making sure that everyone brings their best in their preparation and brings their best on the weekend.

“There’s not too many easy matches in Super Rugby, they’re all generally pretty tight and we’re expecting another tough one this weekend”.


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