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AUDIO - Sharks coach on Euro comps: 'It's not a level playing field'

REACTION: Sharks head coach John Plumtree said a lot still needs to be done to ensure that South African teams do not face logistical issues in future European tournaments.

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Plumtree’s side stormed to a 36-22 victory over Gloucester in Friday’s Challenge Cup Final at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London.

That victory provided a silver lining to a challenging season, which has seen the team from Durban fall out of the United Rugby Championship play-off race quite early with just four wins from 17 matches ahead of next weekend’s final round.

While his team was in a celebratory mood after Friday’s Challenge Cup success, Plumtree sent a reminder to the organisers of the European competitions about helping the SA teams become more competitive.

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“This is not an easy competition for the South African teams,” said Plumtree.

“There is a lot of travelling.

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“We are in it, and we are competing well, but a few things need to be ironed out in terms of levelling it up a little bit.

“This is our fourth trip up here [to the Northern Hemisphere] this year and I think we have been away from home for about three months, so that is not a level playing field.

“They need to look at how they can make this competition better.

“For me, it’s better than Super Rugby and I’ve been involved in that for a long time.

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“However, there is a lot of logistical stuff that needs to be sorted out. Hopefully, it will be done in the next year or two.”

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Meanwhile, delving into the detail of their game plan in that victory over Gloucester, Plumtree added: “We wanted to apply a lot of pressure up-front because we knew it would probably be their strength, so by taking that away, we knew we would have a good chance.

“I thought the scrum was outstanding, and the front row’s drive was very good, and they earned the rewards for it. So was the pressure game from our kicking game.

“A lot of it was based around scoreboard pressure, which we had to keep building on, and credit to the guys for sticking to the plan.”

Additional Source: SA Rugby

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