Sharks in good shape to face Free State

The Sharks picked up no injuries from their match with the Pumas and are in good shape for Saturday’s Currie Cup match against the Free State Cheetahs.

Sharks coach John Plumtree has confirmed that the squad is in good health and that Keegan Daniel and Louis Ludik could return for the Sharks.

“Keegan should be OK, Louis too, but neither are confirmed to start as yet.” said Plumtree adding that the two players would be assessed over the course of the week.

There are just four matches left before the knock out rounds and the Sharks are leading the Currie Cup table but Plumtree wants his players to stay grounded.

“The thing is, if you look at our recent performances, out of the last two games, we’ve probably had the equivalent of one good game,” he explained on the Sharks site.

“We had a good first half against the Bulls, the same against the Pumas and not so good after that, so we haven’t come out the change-room well in the past two weeks. It’s something we’ve spoken about and when we analyse it, we want to play a lot better.

“We had a really good August and we haven’t played as well since then, we want to get back to playing good football.

“We’ve had some disruptions, losing players over the last couple of weeks, but we’ve done a lot with the other group and it’s about making sure that we play well on the weekend because it is a home game.”

The Sharks will go into this weekend’s match with confidence having beaten the Free State in Bloemfontein earlier in the tournament. They will also know that he visitors will arrive in Durban with plenty of motivation wanting to get revenge for their loss.

“Free State are always good performers in the Currie Cup, it’s a tournament they get excited about because they have a good history over the last few years.

“They’re a tough outfit, they believe they can beat us, whether it’s here or in Bloemfontein, and it’s the same against the other franchises, the Cheetahs will be up for every game.

“They’re pretty physical and play an expansive style of rugby. They can play a really good brand of rugby and they have a good system to develop young players to come through into the Currie Cup system.”

In last week’s match against the Pumas the Sharks scored four tries in the opening quarter of their match and the dropped off. Plumtree is not too concerned about the drop off and says he is more concerned about not closing out opportunities.

“We’re getting into positions to score tries and we haven’t. You’re not going to finish them all but we haven’t been converting enough.

“Previously, we’ve been converting opportunities when we got into the opposition 22, but of late, we haven’t been doing that.

“It’s certainly something where we need to have more composure, we must show good decision-making skills when we do well to break the opposition and finish them off.”

Plumtree feels that with a little tweaking here and there he hopes everything will fall into place,”I don’t think there is any one reason; it’s concentration levels, it’s composure, skill – and that’s the challenge with this game.

“We’ve been making errors out wide, closer to the breakdown area, we’ve made silly handling errors, so it’s a mixture of everything. What makes us dangerous is that we’re fairly unpredictable, if you take us lightly, we can cause some hurt. We need to put longer passages of play together.

“Sometimes our biggest enemy is ourselves, not the opposition.

“We’re driving consistency in our message to the players. At this stage of the competition, the cream always comes to top, and we want to be the cream.”

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