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By Athenkosi Tsotsi

Sports Reporter

Plumtree compares Sharks’ tough season to taking a cold bath

The team from Durban have lost nine matches this URC season and they remain rooted to the bottom of the points table.

After seeing his side succumb to a ninth defeat in the United Rugby Championship this season, Sharks coach John Plumtree compared their campaign to jumping into a cold bath.

The Sharks lost 25-21 to the Stormers in front of a packed King’s Park on Saturday night, leaving them, still, at the bottom of the points table.

‘It’s a struggle’

Plumtree, who has struggled to get his team to win in his second stint as Sharks coach, painted a picture of their woes in his post-match press conference on Saturday.

“I’m not making excuses, but everything about this season is about us jumping into a cold bath,” Plumtree said.

“It’s been breaking in a new coaching team, us getting to know each other, injuries, World Cup-winning Springboks coming in late; it’s been tough for a lot of different reasons. For me, it’ll be easier next year.

“I’ve got a lot of confidence in this team that we are going to go get it right and go to the places that we want to go, but right now it’s a struggle for different reasons,” he said.

‘We want to be like Stormers’

Reflecting on the game, where they scored three tries through Ox Nche, James Venter, and Bongi Mbonambi, and pushed the Stormers to the limit in the second half, Plumtree praised his troops and said they are aiming to be like their Cape visitors.

“Where they are as a team, is where we want to be,” said Plumtree. “I thought they worked really hard defensively whenever we had an opportunity, we created a couple of opportunities but we didn’t finish them off and they scrambled back and would stop us.

“That’s testament to where they are as a group, and that’s why they are where they are … a tough outfit. I was happy with the way we never gave up; we came back into the contest,” he said.

Stormers depth

Stormers coach John Dobson saw his side win the derby without a number of Springboks, and that spoke volumes of the depth they have in their squad.

“It’s nice that we can have that sort of depth. Defensively we were off, strategically and tactically, I thought good, and some good performances by some second-string players,” said Dobson.

He added that the win over the Sharks would help build the momentum ahead of their next encounter in the UCRC, a North-South derby with the Bulls next month in Pretoria.

“If we didn’t get a win (against the Sharks), it would have been probably us trying to play catch up later in the tournament, so it was important to stay in touch with the Bulls.

“It teases up for an absolutely epic match in two weeks, there will be a lot of passion, a great occasion, I presume a pretty full Loftus,” Dobson said.

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