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Plumtree wants Sharks to be clinical against Reds

Sharks coach John Plumtree at training

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Article Published: Saturday 17 March 2012|

Sharks coach John Plumtree has again stressed the need for his side to be more clinical when they host defending champions the Reds in their Super Rugby clash in Durban on Saturday.

"We need to be more ruthless when we get into good positions," Plumtree said.

"We haven't done that enough this season."

The Durban franchise has had a difficult start to the year with two losses from their first three games, though both their defeats were on the road and against two of the more fancied sides in the competition the Bulls and Stormers.

Their solitary win came against the Lions last week, but was not as convincing as they would have liked, with Plumtree's men failing to assert themselves against a weakened visiting team, who played with guts and determination.

Confidence was also clearly down and a win this week is crucial ahead of a gruelling four-match away trip.

Plumtree was prepared for a Reds side which he felt had "real quality" in all areas of the field.

"The Reds have plenty of speed out wide, so if they get real fast ball and we have numbers down, they're going to hurt us," he said.

"Defensively we're going to have to be really smart. We've got to really take it to them physically.

"We have to make sure we spend time with ball in hand and put them under pressure.

"It's going to have to be a good performance from us in all areas of the game if we want to outsmart them."

The Reds, meanwhile, will be determined to end a poor run at Kings Park, where they have not won since 2004.

They have quietly gone about their business this year, winning all three of their opening matches without raising too many eyebrows.

However, both sides will be well aware that the visitors are missing one of the competition's star men from 2011, Australia flyhalf Quade Cooper, who is recovering after knee surgery.

Reds coach Ewen McKenzie acknowledged they were not yet at their best, but insisted they were a better team than 12 months ago.

"We're not far away from playing well," he said.

"I know people are questioning where we are at the moment.

"All I can say is that we're way better than we were at this time last year.

"We're competitive without being brilliant. Our best football is ahead of us, so we are not stressing."

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