I still think that Pat Lambie is a ten so we will have to work hard on him when Freddie leaves
They might have taken the tough road to the top of the Super Rugby pile, but Sharks coach John Plumtree expects his team to stay there.
The Durban side have played some breathtaking rugby on their remarkable path to the Super Rugby Final in Hamilton this weekend, and Plumtree firmly believes that they are poised to sustain those high standards in the future.
The Kiwi mentor said that he has never been more excited about the potential of his side as key acquisitions in previous problem areas such as the midfield have given them a far more balanced look across the park.
Whilst their pack has been a powerful unit for some time, some important backline signings have given the Sharks plenty of potency out wide which has given Plumtree much hope for their future prospects.
He explained: "I just think this team is getting more balanced all the time, in the last couple of years we haven't had a flyhalf or we haven't had a midfield and we have struggled for depth in certain areas which is obviously crucial.
"We are starting to get that balance right now and there are still a few positions that we need to tinker with, but I am more excited about the backs.
"If you look at Frans Steyn, Paul Jordaan and Tim Whitehead there is good depth there now," he said.
The Sharks coach revealed that he sees Springbok utility back Pat Lambie as a flyhalf and intends to groom him for a long-term future in the position once French playmaker Frederic Michalak concludes his time with the team this weekend.
"I still think that Pat Lambie is a ten so we will have to work hard on him when Freddie [Michalak] leaves," he said.
The clash in Hamilton will be the Sharks' first Super Rugby Final for five years, and having beaten the Reds in Brisbane and the Stormers in Cape Town they could make it an incredible hat-trick by beating all three conference champions away from home on consecutive weekends to lift the trophy.
Plumtree said that while it would take a massive effort for his team to clinch their first Super Rugby title this weekend, they are confident that they will be able to give the Chiefs a serious challenge on their home turf.
"When we played them in Durban we put in a defensive plan for them and it was quite good because it was only a late try that sealed that game for them and I thnk we are playing better than we were then so if we can get up physically for this game then anything can happen," he said.
By Michael de Vries