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Plumtree spoilt for choice

Mon, 15 Oct 2012 15:05
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Sharks coach John Plumtree has some interesting selection posers ahead of his team's Currie Cup semifinal against the Blue Bulls at Kings Park.

The Durban side demolished Griquas last week to finish on top of the standings and secure home advantage in the play-offs, but having played most of his Springboks off the bench on Friday Plumtree now faces a few tough calls.

The only player who is in doubt at this stage is experienced wing Odwa Ndungane who left the field early in the game against the Griquas with an injured ankle.

"We're a little bit worried about Odwa, we are a little concerned. Odwa has been in such great form, and that's why I selected him. But Lwazi [Mvovo] is a more than a capable replacement, we're lucky to have three great wings," said Plumtree.

After resting Tendai Mtawarira and Willem Alberts last week Plumtree has to decide how best to integrate all of his Springboks into his match-day squad without disrupting the momentum that his team have built up this season.

With Mtawarira, Craig Burden and Jannie du Plessis likely to make up an all-Bok front row, Plumtree's most serious headache will be in the loose trio where he has to choose the best combination out of Alberts, Marcell Coetzee, Keegan Daniel, Jacques Botes and Jean Deysel.

The convincing display against Griquas has made things even tougher for Plumtree who was full of praise for the clinical performance.

"I thought our defence was excellent, our breakdown work was really good, we got some nice fast ball for backs.

"We had to defend for long periods of time, especially in the first half and we had to defend the driving maul which was a big threat, a big weapon of theirs. I thought our scrummaging was pretty solid. Ultimately I thought the backs looked really sharp. I thought we played some outstanding rugby in the second half," he said.

The Sharks coach singled out JP Pietersen who has picked up where he left off before suffering a thumb injury in the Super Rugby Final.

"I thought JP was outstanding, if he's not the best wing in the world, you'd be hard pressed to find one. He's just so big and fast, he's outstanding. I can't speak more highly about his efforts. In Bloemfontein the previous week and then in this game, I thought he was excellent," he said.

Along with the choice of the selection of returning Springboks, Plumtree has a conundrum at scrumhalf, where the exciting young Cobus Reinach and the more experienced Charl McLeod are fighting for a starting spot.

"Cobus played really well and I thought Charl did some good things when he came on. You need to have two good nines, it's important. Both are putting pressure on each other and putting pressure on me to select them," he explained.
 

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