Plumtree praises both Currie Cup final teams

Both the Sharks and Western Province are putting on the finishing touches to their preparations for Saturday’s Currie Cup final at King’s Park.

The Sharks have a clean bill of health other than wing JP Pietersen who has is out of the final and the Springboks end of year tour with a hamstring problem.

The Durban team had some time off last week for rest but they are back in full swing now.

“The boys had the opportunity to enjoy a bit of a break but some of them kept on training, which is understandable with the hunger in the group,” coach John Plumtree said.

“It’s been more of a mental break than anything. We have a few niggles to certain players, such as Willem Alberts and Alistair Hargreaves, while Bismarck du Plessis had a scan on his hand. We’re hoping that he gets the all-clear.”

Currie Cup fever is gripping Durban after the team’s epic semifinal against the Bulls although there was bad news for the Sharks today as ABSA have decided not to continue with their sponsorship of the stadium after 11 years.

Western Province coach Allister Coetzee was highly impressed with the Sharks against the Bulls but is confident that the experience of playing in the Super 14 final earlier in the season will benefit his players.

“Having played in the Super 14 final, it was a great experience and the guys learned a lot from it,” Coetzee told TimesLive.

“But it was difficult for us to go and play a final in a venue (Orlando stadium) that we had never seen before.

“Make no mistake, it will be noisy in Durban, but there shouldn’t be too much that we are not used to and have not experienced before.”

“The Sharks crowd is very passionate, and the fact that the Sharks haven’t lost at home since March tells us something. It’s going to be a tough match.”

Plumtree said the Sharks focus this week would be on the mental side of the game as all of the physical preparation had been done.

“It’s about planting a few seeds and making sure that the players do the right things building up to the final in terms of diet and rest and dedicating themselves to the remaining days before the final.

“It’s about the best team, not the best individuals. There might be moments where individuals create or finish something and certainly Province have individuals who can create opportunities, but at the end of the day it’s still about the team.

“It’s about the side that comes up with the most consistency and that’s what the finalists have achieved. The Cheetahs played some good rugby this year, so did the Lions and the Bulls, but at the end of the day they’re not there because they didn’t do it as consistently as we did.

“It’s fair to say that the teams in the final are the most deserving, but it means nothing in terms of deserving the final prize.”

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