South Africa

Plumtree reflects on performance of Sharks fringe men in loss to Cardiff

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Sharks coach John Plumtree sympathised with flanker Tino Mavesere who will not travel with the team to London for the Challenge Cup final after he received a red card in their 36-14 loss to Cardiff in the United Rugby Championship in Durban on Saturday. 

Plumtree’s focus for the match at Kings Park was on the fringe players and to see who he could pick to back-up the first-choice men, who are preparing for the big European cup final in London on Friday night.

Even though the Sharks were under the pump for large parts of the game against Cardiff, there were some positives as certain players did put up their hands.

‘Tino won’t be going to the final’

Mavesere, who was shown a red card in the 19th minute, was among the players who did enough to secure his ticket to London, however, the red card took away the chance to join the regular playing squad for Friday’s final at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium against Gloucester. 

“Tino was playing really well until he got the red card. It’s really disappointing for him, he was coming to London with us and he won’t be there now,” Plumtree said.

The Sharks mentor also praised Eduan Keyter and Curwin Bosch for their performances against Cardiff. 

“Eduan Keyter didn’t look out of place in the midfield and I was happy with Curwin when he came on, he brought some energy to the team,” he said. 

‘We weren’t good enough’

The defeat to Cardiff was the Sharks’ 13th in the URC this season. Plumtree said the fringe players were left disappointed by the loss.

“Fourteen against 15 with 60 minutes to go was never going to be an easy task against a pretty experienced URC team,” Plumtree said.

“At the end of the day, we weren’t quite good enough. There were quite a few guys in there that haven’t played in a while, also combinations that haven’t been together, so, it was a disappointing evening. The boys wanted to do a bit more than that, and I’m disappointed for them. 

“Most of those boys work hard to prepare the main side every week, it’s always difficult when you haven’t played for a while and you’re put under pressure,” he said.