Sharks aiming for new heights

Mon, 08 Oct 2012 17:01
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Sharks coach John Plumtree was encouraged by his team's performance against the Cheetahs, but has urged them to raise the bar even higher this weekend.

Sharks coach John Plumtree was encouraged by his team's performance against the Cheetahs, but has urged them to raise the bar even higher this weekend.

The Sharks claimed top spot on the Currie Cup log with an impressive victory in Bloemfontein on Saturday to secure home advantage in the semifinals and Plumtree said that the win was especially pleasing after some disappointing performances at altitude.

"We haven't been all that good at altitude all year but we turned that around at the right time I guess. It was a huge performance by the boys, they showed character when they were forced to defend for long periods of time.

"We made over 200 tackles against a Cheetahs side that played some great rugby and we had to be right on the money with our defence.

"And when we created some opportunities, we managed to score a few tries which was great. We're not quite there yet with our attack but our defence was right up there generally," he said.

After that boost to their confidence the Sharks will take on Griquas in Durban on Friday, but Plumtree warned that it will not be easy for his side to exact revenge for their defeat in Kimberley earlier in the season.
 
While the home side will be aiming to secure top spot, Griquas themselves will have plenty to play for as they seek to qualify for the semifinals.

"It's been tight the whole way through this competition, similar to Super Rugby.

"We have an opportunity now and we need to try and match our performance in Bloemfontein against Griquas this Friday. They have pretty much beaten every fancied side in the competition and they'll back themselves coming to Durban.

"They have their own ambitions as well and it's going to be one of those really tough games. We have to make sure that we play very well, it doesn't matter that it's at home, they'll come with a tough attitude," he said.

The Sharks will have to make do without hooker Pieter Dixon who broke his arm early in the victory over the Cheetahs, but with Craig Burden back in the mix along with the rest of their Boks they will be significantly strengthened for the final round showdown.

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Free State Cheetahs 14 8 0 6 44
Blue Bulls 14 7 0 7 38
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