'It will be a good year for the Sharks'

Fri, 25 Jan 2013 10:30
Large franco van der merwe shark2 Large john plumtree gestures Large franco van der merwe line o Large john plumtree points Large franco van der merwe sharks

They may have lost in their last three finals, but the Sharks are adamant they are capable of breaking their recent trophy drought.

They may have lost in their last three finals - in two successive Currie Cup tournaments and the 2012 Super Rugby season - but the Sharks are adamant they are capable of breaking their recent trophy drought.

As the most successful team never to have won a Super Rugby crown - runners-up four times, reached the semifinals on three more occasions and the preliminary play-offs on another - the Sharks feel they have a squad that can finally go all the way.

Franco van der Merwe, on loan from the Lions, did not hesitate to install the Durban-based franchise as one of the tournament's pre-season favourites.

"They haven't lost many players, just one or two," Van der Merwe said, when asked about the Sharks' prospects.

"Yes, there is an injury or two, but I think this team is going to do well.

"It's up to us [the players] to do the job.

"The team has a lot of character, they played in the Super Rugby and two Currie Cup Finals and there is a lot of experience; also the squad hasn't changed much in the last couple of years.
 
"I really think it's going to be a good year for the Sharks."
 
Despite his new surroundings, Van der Merwe feels at home and proclaims himself very happy with the professional setup at the Sharks.
 
"It's a very good setup here, the structures are good, the players look like they have a lot of fun, but in spite of that, they are working really hard, they're really professional and they are disciplined about their rugby," he told the Sharks' website.

"The Sharks are a great bunch of guys, I'm enjoying training and playing with them and really looking forward to the first game, I can't wait to play with guys who I've been playing against for the past couple of years."
 
The Sharks are now at the business end of their pre-season preparations for the 2013 Super Rugby tournament, with an intensive workload for the players as the tournament gets closer.
 
All the players returned after the festive season break, including the Springboks who were off after the conclusion of the end-of-year tour, and coach John Plumtree declared himself happy with the squad and the shape they are in.
 
"Our pre-season has been good, the boys have been really good," Plumtree said in an interview on the Sharks' website.
 
"We had a really nice block before Christmas and the boys came back after the break in pretty good condition - we're pretty happy with the body compositions - weights and body fat measurements.
 
"Anyone who was behind (which would be Boks who missed the November and December conditioning blocks) has had a hectic schedule to catch up, and by three weeks' time, everyone should be right."
 
The Sharks coach admits that, like every year, the previous season's assessment would identify areas they may feel could be improved upon.
 
"We've looked at changing a little of what we do - nothing drastic - shifting emphasis slightly. There are one or two areas of our game that we need to concentrate hard on, like the line-out with Franco van der Merwe coming in and Bismarck du Plessis unavailable; there has been a fair amount of work put in there. I guess you could say that our main emphasis has been on our conditioning though up to this point."
 
With Du Plessis out injured and only expected to be back after the start of the competition, it means an opportunity for others to play.
 
"Craig Burden has an opportunity to get a run of games now, he didn't get a lot of time last year in the Currie Cup because of the way the Springboks used him which was disappointing for him. Then Kyle Cooper showed me he is capable and played well at Currie Cup level and Monde Hadebe also had some good Currie Cup game time, so between the three of them there is some competition.
 
"Core skills are really important, throwing in obviously, and we'll be looking for the player that executes the basics the best. That's the message they've had and hopefully they'll be able to perform those basics really well which is really important to the game."
 
The hookers will get an opportunity in one of the warm-up matches, the first of which takes place against the Leopards at Woodburn Stadium in Pietermaritzburg on Friday, February 8.

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 24 February 2017
Highlanders v Chiefs 06h35 Dunedin
Reds v Sharks 09h00 Brisbane
Harlequins v Leicester Tigers 17h45 Twickenham Stoop
Edinburgh v Cardiff Blues 19h05 Myreside
Dragons v Leinster 19h30 Rodney Parade
Munster v Scarlets 19h35 Thomond Park
Sat, 25 February 2017
Sunwolves v Hurricanes 04h15 Tokyo
Crusaders v Brumbies 06h35 Christchurch
Waratahs v Force 08h45 Allianz Park
Saracens v Sale Sharks 12h45 Allianz Park
Northampton Saints v Worcester Warriors 13h00 Franklin's Gardens
Exeter Chiefs v Newcastle Falcons 13h00 Sandy Park
Cheetahs v Lions 13h05 Bloemfontein
Scotland v Wales 14h25 BT Murrayfield
Kings v Jaguares 15h15 Port Elizabeth
Ireland v France 16h50 Aviva Stadium
Stormers v Bulls 17h30 Cape Town
Sun, 26 February 2017
Bristol v Bath 11h00 Ashton Gate
Treviso v Connacht 12h30 Stadio Comunale di Monigo
Wasps v Gloucester 12h30 Ricoh Arena
Zebre v Ulster 12h30 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Ospreys v Glasgow Warriors 13h05 Liberty Stadium
England v Italy 15h00 Twickenham Stadium
Mon, 27 February 2017
UCT-Ikeys v Maties 14h45 Cape Town
Rhodes v Fort Hare 16h30 Grahamstown
CPUT v UKZN-Impi 16h30 Cape Town
UWC v TUT 16h30 Cape Town
UP-Tuks v Wits 16h30 Pretoria
CUT-Ixias v UJ 16h30 Bloemfontein
Shimlas v NWU-Pukke 17h00 Bloemfontein
Thu, 02 March 2017
Force v Reds 10h30 Perth
RESULT SCORE
Thu, 23 February 2017
Rebels v Blues 18 | 56
Tue, 21 February 2017
CUT-Ixias v Shimlas 13 | 22
Mon, 20 February 2017
UJ v UP-Tuks 18 | 11
UKZN-Impi v Fort Hare 16 | 10
Maties v NMMU-Madibaz 35 | 16
UWC v Rhodes 88 | 8
TUT v WSU 13 | 17
NWU-Pukke v UCT-Ikeys 20 | 15
Sun, 19 February 2017
Newcastle Falcons v Northampton Saints 46 | 31
Sale Sharks v Wasps 34 | 28
Sat, 18 February 2017
Connacht v Dragons 14 | 9
Ospreys v Munster 23 | 25
Leicester Tigers v Bristol 50 | 17
Ulster v Glasgow Warriors 37 | 17
Bath v Harlequins 22 | 12
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 0 0 0 0 0
Waratahs 0 0 0 0 0
Reds 0 0 0 0 0
Force 0 0 0 0 0
Rebels 1 0 0 1 0
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Blues 1 1 0 0 5
Hurricanes 0 0 0 0 0
Highlanders 0 0 0 0 0
Chiefs 0 0 0 0 0
Crusaders 0 0 0 0 0
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 0 0 0 0 0
Bulls 0 0 0 0 0
Cheetahs 0 0 0 0 0
Sunwolves 0 0 0 0 0
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 0 0 0 0 0
Sharks 0 0 0 0 0
Jaguares 0 0 0 0 0
Kings 0 0 0 0 0