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Sharks coach Plumtree : 'Anything can happen'

Sharks coach John Plumtree faces more travel ahead of the final

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Article Published: Saturday 28 July 2012|

Sharks coach John Plumtree says that "anything can happen" when they play the Chiefs after defying the odds and beating the Stormers 19-26 at home in Newlands.

The Sharks booked the second spot in the Super Rugby final against the Chiefs when they upset the top ranked team the Stormers who would have hosted the final had they won.

The loss abruptly ended the Stormers Super Rugby campaign for 2012 despite them finishing on top of the Super Rugby standings, having a bye and home advantage in the Semi-final.

The Chiefs had been watching the match closely as they would have had to fly to Cape Town had the Stormers won but instead they will now host the final as they finished the regular season in second place and the Sharks in sixth place.

The Sharks have already completed phase one of "Mission Impossible" as they were forced to travel from Durban to Brisbane to play the Reds and then back to South Africa to play the Stormers.

They will now travel to Sydney and prepare for Saturday's final in Coogee Beach before moving to Hamilton on Thursday for the tournament decider.

When asked about how the Sharks travel will impact on the players coach John Plumtree said he was confident that the players would be fine even though it's not ideal.

"I know personally the jet lag when travelling there is terrible; I have to take sleeping tablets most nights for a week!" 

"But the players are younger and they get over it quicker; it's not ideal but we will try to prepare smartly and get these boys back up: we're representing South Africa now," he told Sport 24.

"We just want to get them in beds as quickly as possible in Sydney and also do some preparation there, try to get some freshness back before going to New Zealand."

Plumtree said that as the Sharks were chasing a place in the play offs from before the Super Rugby break in June they had been hardened by the pressure.

"We gathered confidence and grew a bit at the same time ... it snowballed," explained Plumtree.

"The team started believing in themselves about 20 to 30 percent more than when we were playing before the international break.

"We were already playing knockout rugby, basically, several weeks ago so it hardened us, and the leadership grew with that.

"To go to Queensland and win last week and then come here to do it again was always going to be a huge task for any side - I'm really proud of how the boys have stood up.

"You could see the guys getting tired towards the end here, and the subs had a crucial role to play.

"It's great to be giving a winning speech (after the semi) but we have also had some pain getting here, to this point.

"I just think this team is getting more balanced all the time. Over the past couple of years we've gone through times where we haven't had a ten, or haven't had a midfield, or struggled for depth in certain areas - we're starting to get that right now even if there are one or two positions still to tinker with.

"I'm more excited about the backs ... you look at (Francois) Steyn, Jordaan, (Tim) Whitehead; depth there now. "

"And I still think Pat Lambie is a ten, so we'll work hard on him when Freddie (Michalak) leaves.

"The backs are there, and the pack's pretty good. I'm more excited about this team than I ever have been, I reckon."

When asked how firmly he believed whether the Sharks could overcome the disadvantage of having to travel again and win the final Plumtree said, "I guess you guys will decide that! I mean, it would be amazing ... flying there, flying back here, then back again.

"Nobody's ever done it. Who can do it? If we don't do this, someone will eventually. "

"If we can get up physically for this game, anything can happen."

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