Rude awakening for John Plumtree who says Sharks were ‘exposed’ by Bulls

David Skippers
John Plumtree Sharks head coach URC 2023 - PA.jpg

Sharks head coach John Plumtree.

Sharks head coach John Plumtree couldn’t hide his disappointment after his team suffered a 44-10 defeat to the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Saturday.

After the humiliating result against their South African rivals, Plumtree did not mince his words when assessing his team’s performance and conceded that the better team were victorious, but said some of his players did not come to the party.

Only one win so far this season

It was the Sharks‘ sixth defeat from seven matches played so far this season and was a rude awakening for Plumtree after his team notched their solitary win in style against the Dragons in Durban last weekend.

“We’re very disappointed, but also surprised as well,” he said after the match. “I thought we were a little more ahead of that, but clearly, we’re still not a team yet.

“Last week, we played against a Welsh side that was under the pump because of the conditions in Durban and they were pretty tired.

“The Bulls side is a real team and from a collective perspective, they’re a bit ahead of us. That’s our challenge now and we have to dig deep and become a team.

“We didn’t get a lot of things right in this game and physically, we didn’t look like we were in the right space.

“We felt like we had a good week, but it’s clear there were a lot of individuals in our team who didn’t turn up.

“It’s not good enough and we take so much pride in the jersey, but we didn’t show that. It didn’t look like we had our soul.

“We should have been better.”

Wants Sharks to follow Bulls’ example

Plumtree has plenty of talented players in his ranks and feels the Sharks should follow the example set by the Bulls who are currently in third place on the United Rugby Championship standings while the Durban-based outfit occupy 15th position in the 16-team competition.

“I’m not going to take anything away from the Bulls, but our team’s foundation isn’t solid enough,” Plumtree said.

“We have to sort that out because we have enough talent in our team and we’re aspiring to be like the Bulls.

“They’ve got a great squad and Jake’s done a good job. That’s what we’re looking to do, but I’m not letting my players off the hook.

“We should have been better, but they exposed us, but hopefully there’ll be a better performance next week.”

READ MORE: Free-flowing Bulls dismantle out-of-sorts Sharks at Loftus Versfeld