Sharks upbeat for home stretch

Mon, 20 May 2013 17:58
Large john plumtree gestures Large keegan daniel sharks pass Large riaan viljoen sharks try v

Sharks coach John Plumtree says breaking their five-match losing streak in their final game on tour has done wonders for the team’s morale.

Sharks coach John Plumtree says breaking their five-match losing streak in their final game on tour has done wonders for the team’s morale.

“Winning in Perth was important for many reasons," Plumtree said following the Sharks’ 23-13 victory over the Western Force in Perth over the weekend.

The win moved the Durban side into third place in the South African Conference and 10th overall. Plumtree admitted the result was a huge relief for the team and bodes well for the final four matches of the pool stages.

"The mood in the changing room's a lot better than it has been for the last five weeks. We lost two games before we left for the tour and obviously the tour hasn't gone all that well for us, we had a tough clash against the Chiefs, a loss against the Highlanders and the Reds were too good for us last weekend,” he said.

“Obviously that had an effect on the confidence of the boys so there was a lot of pressure on us tonight and I’m thrilled we came out on top. So it was hugely important for us and I'm really proud of the boys. It's been a tough road these last few weeks. We needed to get some confidence back into the players, so the victory brings plenty of relief.”

Sharks captain Keegan Daniel was pleased with the character the team showed to turn their fortunes around.

“I’m proud of the way the boys put their hands up, but hats off to the Force as well, this was a great encounter. It was tough up front and we’re happy with the win,” said Daniel.

“In this match, we wanted to be more clinical. The last few games we’ve been so far behind at half-time, we just wanted to give ourselves a chance in this match. We know we’re strong in the second half, we showed that in this match again, so I’m happy with the performance.”

Western Force captain Matt Hodgson admitted that the defeat rankled, especially considering his side’s early form in the match where they had the Sharks under the cosh, but could not make it count on the scoreboard.

“This is a young side still coming together and we just couldn’t complete when we needed to. We desperately need to convert that kind of pressure into points,” he said.

The Sharks clash with the Bulls at Kings Park on Saturday and have a bye next weekend before the Super Rugby season breaks for the June Tests.

They conclude the pool stages of the tournament with matches against the Blues (home), Bulls (away) and Southern Kings.  

The Force host the Highlanders on Saturday.

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