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'Real class': Boks show Plumtree the way forward

REACTION: Sharks head coach John Plumtree admitted that the returning Springboks was the catalyst his team needed and it was there for all to see against the Dragons on Saturday.


The Sharks outplayed the Welsh outfit on their way to a 69-14 at Kings Park. It was the Sharks’ first win of the season after five straight defeats.

World Cup winners Eben Etzebeth, Makazole Mapimpi, Ox Nche, Grant Williams and Jaden Hendrikse all made a return in the black jerseys and their impact proved to be the difference on the field for Plumtree.

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“I thought they were all great. It’s not easy when you come back from such a high like that [a World Cup win],” Plumtree told reporters after the match.

“Some of them haven’t played rugby for quite a while, so they were a little bit rusty and a little bit nervous, but the time they had tonight [Saturday] will be good for next week.

“They were all great during the week as well.


“They just provide that confidence for the rest of the group. They were coming back into a new coaching set-up as well, so it has been a big week for them and hopefully they enjoyed it too.”

On his team’s improved performance, Plumtree added: “I just think it was the introduction of five or six real class players.

“Lukhanyo [Am] was better off for his second run as well, but you can’t underestimate how much the others have improved as well.

“Everyone has been working real hard over the last few weeks but we just didn’t have any reward for it.


“We are still not there where we want to be and we are still not as clinical as we would like to be, especially in our own 22. There is still plenty to work on.

“At least Monday becomes a little bit easier this week.”

The result will also be a big confidence booster for the Sharks ahead of a big South African derby against the Bulls in Pretoria in Round Seven.

“We weren’t perfect and there is still stuff to work on, but we know how tough it is going to be at Loftus next weekend,” said Plumtree.

“They [Bulls] are playing well. They are put away a side [Connacht] that we lost to pretty easily.

“I got a lot of respect for that Bulls team and it is certainly going to be a tough challenge.”


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