And that means Plumtree, who will be facing the Lions for a second successive tour as a coach, is having to improvise ahead of the big game at the Absa Stadium in Durban.
"We should have a full squad available outside of the Springboks, although I feel that the guys not playing in the Test matches should be playing for their provinces. That's what I'd like to see," said Plumtree on the official Sharks website
"We need to establish a pecking order in different positions and the boys also need some contact work after having a bit of a break, so that was the emphasis.
"It's not so much about depth as the quality of depth we're looking for. We could be stretched in a few positions, but you just have to get on with it."
Plumtree was involved with the Sharks when they faced the 1997 Lions and was coach to the Wellington side that faced them on the 2005 tour. He's hoping it will be third time lucky for him and his team this week.
"Chris Boyd and I coached Wellington when the Lions played there four years ago. They played their Test team against us, and although we didn't have our All Blacks, we were still competitive," he added.
"It's emotional, playing and coaching against them - I'm lucky, this is the third time I'm involved."