Plumtree expects Sharks to improve in Currie Cup

The Sharks literally rained on Western Province’s parade by defeating the home side 25-23 in their opening 2012 Currie Cup match at Newlands on Saturday night.

After the match, Province coach Allister Coetzee had the same crestfallen look about him as he did when the two teams last met at Newlands in a Super Rugby semi-final a fortnight ago.

“We lost a home game and that’s very disappointing,” said Coetzee on Saturday.

“No (WP) player can be proud of this effort. It was a comedy of errors on our part that cost us the game.”

Province held the upper hand in the set-pieces and enjoyed a major share of possession but their efforts were undone by their costly mistakes throughout the match.

“We dominated at the scrums and line-outs, and it’s not often that we’ve done that against a Sharks side, so that was pleasing,” Coetzee said.

“But we couldn’t catch the ball and the Sharks enjoyed two lucky bounces.”

The Sharks’ kicking game proved lethal as Province failed to cope under the high ball and conceded two tries as a result.

“There were far too many individual errors and so all our good work was undone,” said Coetzee.

“There wasn’t a problem with our attitude because we defended well and I liked the way we attacked.

“We have to pick up the pieces and get out confidence up.

“It’s still hard to accept defeat when one considers that for 30 of the 40 minutes of the second half we played the game in the Sharks’ half of the field.”

John Plumtree, the Sharks coach, admitted his side had a few lucky breaks but said they deserved their victory as they made the most of their chances.

“We had a couple of nice bounces but we were also accurate in overall play,” said Plumtree.

“We took the opportunities that were presented to us.

“In the second half, our kicks were more accurate and we got the reward.”

With most of his key players doing duty with the Springboks, Plumtree said his debutants did not let him down.

“It was nice to get some match points without our key players, and I’ve seen signs tonight that suggest we’ll get better,” said Plumtree.

“It was nice to see the youngsters provide so much enthusiasm.

“It was a very good, collective effort that produced the win.”

Plumtree praised the performance of fullback Riaan Viljoen who was fielded at flyhalf for the match.

It turned out to be a masterstroke because his kicking variations caused Province a spot of bother, every so often.

“It’s been a long time since Riaan played flyhalf but he played nicely,” said Plumtree.

“I think he plays better when he’s closer to the ball.”

Next week Province are away to Griquas at Kimberley, while the Sharks host the champions, Golden Lions.

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