Sharks begin Lions build up

Sharks coach John Plumtree says he is happy with the progress being made by his side as they continue their Super 14 preparations just four months out from their mouth-watering clash with Ian McGeechan's Lions. [more]

Sharks begin Lions build up

Sharks coach John Plumtree says he is happy with the progress being made by his side as they continue their Super 14 preparations just four months out from their mouth-watering clash with Ian McGeechan’s Lions.

Plumtree watched a trial match between an A and a B side on Friday night and was pleased with what he saw from his players.

"It was the first hit out for most of our boys and I was really happy with the way things went,” Plumtree told the Sharks website.

”It showed how much depth there is here.”

The Sharks enter this month’s Super 14 as South Africa’s Currie Cup champions and will be expecting more success before they take on the Lions at ABSA Stadium in Durban on June 10.

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That match comes just a week-and-a-half before the Lions’ first Test meeting with the Springboks and McGeechan and his squad can expect a tough and physical encounter from a side with a proud history against touring teams.

Plumtree, who previously coached at Swansea for five years from 1997-2002, felt the Experimental Law Variations allowed the team’s stars to gain confidence after the season break and resulted in a good workout for all his players. 

"There is some real class, and given space, that’s what happens with the ELVs – if you can’t go the distance, that space opens up after half time.

"There is always going to be wear and tear in a game played at that intensity in the first half and, in the second, things opened up and there were a few more gaps.

"The ELVS sped things up a lot and there were some really tired bodies out there."

Plumtree also admitted to being satisfied with the performance of utility back Ruan Pienaar, the man currently in possession of the Springbok No10 shirt and the player upon whose shoulders the hopes of a nation could rest come the three-Test series against the Lions.

"We were a bit flat in the first half and there was less space but, once we got a little deeper and gave him some more options, he looked tidier. He certainly didn’t let himself down – I don’t think anyone did."

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