Sharks moving in the right direction
Sharks moving in the right directionSHARE
Sharks coach John Plumtree is positive that his team has finally found the way forward, after more than three games without a single touchdown.
The men from Durban, following their 10-try splurge against the Rebels back in March, went 280 minutes without a try – until their four-try bonus point against the Chiefs at the weekend.
It may not have produced a win – having conceded three tries in the first quarter saw to that – but Plumtree is happy that the team will be able to shed the 'dour' tag that has been attached to his side the past month.
"The Chiefs have got a good defence, so for us to get a bonus point for scoring four tries was great," said Plumtree, speaking ahead of their Round 12 encounter with the winless Highlanders in Dunedin on Saturday.
"But we've been pretty frustrated with the lack of continuity in combinations, that hasn't helped.
"I don't like offering excuses, but the number of injuries we've got is ridiculous, it's making life hard.
"However, we took a step up in the try-scoring department and we're hoping we can continue that this week."
The other positive for the Sharks, as they look to complete the New Zealand leg of their Australasian tour, was their improved set-piece play.
"I thought Wiehahn [Herbst] has gone pretty well, our scrum was consistent, our line-out functioned really well, we had ball and we got more width to our game – which we had worked hard on in the week leading up to the game," the coach said.
"But the frustrating thing for us has been all the injuries, not being able to play regular combinations has made life more difficult for our attack.
"That injury list just keeps growing with Cobus Reinach and Paul Jordaan out, two of our faster attacking backs back home."
Plumtree said he was "fairly disappointed" in the early lead they conceded – going down 0-24 inside the first quarter.
"[We conceded] three soft tries," Plumtree said, adding: "One was well-worked from a line-out move, but we were disappointed with our defence, conceding that turnover try when we were on attack, we found ourselves 24 points down before we had even managed to get going.
"That was probably the biggest thing for us.
"I was really proud of the way the boys found field position, we took a couple of opportunities through our driving line-out, getting themselves back into the game, at half-time it was anyone's game and that was really pleasing."