John Plumtree believes Sharks star is ‘going to get better’ after Challenge Cup heroics

David Skippers
John Plumtree and Siya Masuku image.jpg

Sharks head coach John Plumtree and fly-half Siya Masuku.

Sharks head coach John Plumtree hailed the influence of his fly-half, Siya Masuku, after he played a leading role in their Challenge Cup semi-final victory over Clermont at Twickenham Stoop on Saturday.

Masuku delivered an excellent goal-kicking performance as he finished with a 22-point contribution – courtesy of six penalties and a couple of conversions – as the Durban-based outfit sealed a narrow 32-31 victory against their French opponents.

Slotted match-winning kick

One of those kicks proved to be the match-winning conversion as the 27-year-old held his nerve to add the extras from close to the touchline after Makazole Mapimpi had dotted down in the 71st minute.

The Sharks managed to close out the match in the game’s dying moments with a resilient defensive effort but Top 14 heavyweights Clermont will be kicking themselves as they held a 31-18 lead early in the second half.

Plumtree was full of praise for his fly-half, who joined the Sharks from the Cheetahs at the end of last season and only made his first start for his new club in a URC clash in March.

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The Sharks boss believes Masuku, who walked off with the official Player of the Match award on Saturday, has not unlocked his full potential and predicted that he will reach even greater heights.

“He has played well on the big stage, I’m really happy for him,” said Plumtree of the playmaker. “Very humble character, he feels very honoured to be playing for the jersey, and he’s making the most of his opportunity.

‘Hasn’t reached his ceiling yet’

“He’s still going to get better, his skill sets will improve; his passing game needs to improve, needs to improve as an athlete. He hasn’t reached his ceiling yet.

“He’s a confident little player, his kicking has been great, when he goes for a touch kick he doesn’t go for 30m, he goes for 40m.

“I love his attitude around the game, and the players also like him. He’s riding the crest of a wave at the moment, he’s hanging on.”

READ MORE: Bokrometer: ‘Clutch’ Siya Masuku and ‘rapid’ Tyrone Green amongst Springboks hopefuls who lit up the semi-finals