Sharks coach Plumtree slams rift rumours

Sharks coach John Plumtree has slammed “sections of the media” for sensationalist reporting about a rumoured rift in the camp.

Clearly growing tired of reading reports about unhappiness in the camp, the New Zealander rubbished rumours that there are problems with the dynamics of the team.

“I’m sick of hearing and reading this rubbish,” Plumtree said in the Witness on Tuesday.

“We are losing and like any other team the confidence takes a knock. But to say there is a rift is just mischief-making.

“It is incorrect and it irritates me because there is no foundation to these stories.”

After five successive defeats, it is certainly no surprise that such stories have surfaced, similar to those a few weeks ago that suggested Plumtree was in the firing line — which was then rebutted by the Sharks board, which confirmed the opposite was true and Plumtree had in fact been offered a contract extension.

Turning his attention to Saturday’s must-win away match against the Highlanders, Plumtree said the Sharks had to play intelligent rugby to ensure they secured a victory that has eluded them on each occasion this season, despite having got into positions to win at least four of their five matches.

This past weekend, they had the beating of the Brumbies, but then gave away a penalty with 10 minutes to go and were unable to get back in front.

“We just have to get smarter. When you are a couple of points up, you don’t want to be giving away penalties in the final few minutes.

“The game is all about pressure and composure. At the end of the day, we didn’t show enough composure to win that game.”

The Sharks will be catching the Highlanders on their return from South Africa, where they have won one of three games. They fought back against the Bulls in the second half this past weekend, showing what they are capable of, despite never really being in with a shout of beating the defending champions.

“The Highlanders are a pretty courageous team,” Plumtree agreed. “They also beat the Cheetahs, which is something we struggle to do and they are much tougher at home.”

Meanwhile, prop Deon Carstens and centres Adrian Jacobs and Riaan Swanepoel are battling with injury niggles. — Sapa

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