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AUDIO: Sharks have one massive game to achieve something

AUDIO: The Sharks have one massive game ahead to achieve something this year and that will be their focus in the next two weeks.

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Despite their disappointing loss to Benetton last weekend, Sharks head coach John Plumtree said they won’t overanalyse the game, rather opting to focus on the big Challenge Cup Final against Gloucester in a fortnight.

“We can’t afford to get too down on it.

“We know there is only one massive game for us to do something this year and that’s coming up and we’ll turn our attention towards that,” Plumtree told the media at the post-match conference on Saturday.

The Sharks host Cardiff in the United Rugby Championship on Saturday, and everyone can agree that he will most likely go for a second-string side for that encounter, opting to rest his senior players.

There are also injury concerns to contend with over the three stars, Eben Etzebeth, Lukhanyo Am, and Vincent Koch, who all left the field, but Plumtree explained they would have two weeks to recover before the Final on May 24 at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

“We have the luxury that we don’t have to play these guys next. Hopefully, all three of them will be fine and sitting here in a fortnight’s time,” the coach said.

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“It’s important that we don’t lose track of where we are going.

“Next week [on Saturday] is Cardiff with a different team and then our focus will swing towards Gloucester.”

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The team to play in the Final will depart for London on Sunday where they will be based during their preparation.

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The Sharks also have some midfield issues to contend with as Ethan Hooker is struggling with an ankle injury, Am hobbled off against Benetton with an injured sternoclavicular (SC) joint and Francois Venter had to withdraw through injury just before the game.

Murray Koster had to step in at the last minute but could face a suspension following his red card.

Plumtree said despite the red, which had a significant impact on the game, Koster gave a good account of himself.

“Murray played well. We are seeing more of these red cards where the poachers put themselves into vulnerable positions, but Murray was a little too late to get to the ruck,” the coach said.

“He was put in a vulnerable position where he had to clean a person at a very low position and that can happen.

“He’s pretty down on it, but these things can happen in rugby and that’s how these things go. It did change a lot, especially with five or six minutes to go.

“It had quite a big bearing on the result.”

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