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Plumtree happy with Sharks depth and progress

Sharks coach John Plumtree at training

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Article Published: Friday 25 January 2013|

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Sharks coach John Plumtree says that compared to where the team has been in past years he is satisfied with pre-season conditioning work and the squad's depth.

All of the Sharks Springboks have returned from their break through the Christmas period and Plumtree is happy with the squad and the shape they are in.

"Our pre-season has been good, the boys have been really good," he admits.

"We had a really nice block before Christmas and the boys came back after the break in pretty good condition - we're pretty happy with the body compositions - weights and body fat measurements.

"Anyone who was behind (which would be Boks who missed the November and December conditioning blocks) has had a hectic schedule to catch up, and by three weeks' time, everyone should be right."

Plumtree says that each year he looks back and makes minor adjustments to the way that the Sharks prepare for the upcoming season.

"We've looked at changing a little of what we do - nothing drastic - shifting emphasis slightly. There are one or two areas of our game that we need to concentrate hard on, like the lineout with Franco van der Merwe coming in and Bismarck du Plessis unavailable; there has been a fair amount of work put in there. "

"I guess you could say that our main emphasis has been on our conditioning though up to this point."

There is concern over Tendai "Beast" Mtwarira's heart condition after he was pulled out of the Springboks end of year tour and Du Plessis is out injured and only expected back after Super Rugby has started but Plumtree has enough depth in the squad to cover in his absence.

"Craig Burden has an opportunity to get a run of games now, he didn't get a lot of time last year in the Currie Cup because of the way the Springboks used him which was disappointing for him."

"Then Kyle Cooper showed me he is capable and played well at Currie Cup level and Monde Hadebe also had some good Currie Cup game time, so between the three of them there is some competition."

"Core skills are really important, throwing in obviously, and we'll be looking for the player that executes the basics the best. That's the message they've had and hopefully they'll be able to perform those basics really well which is really important to the game."

"This year, in comparison with previous years at this point in time, from a fitness point of view, we've lost a key player in Bismarck du Plessis for a period of time which isn't great, he's a big part of our planning and our game plan as well. "

"It obviously puts pressure on the team without him, but it then presents an opportunity for others to step up.

"We've lost Dale Chadwick for 4-6 weeks with a stress fracture in his foot and we can't afford to have any upsets with Beast now, we lost him for a long period last year. So there is a little bit of pressure there, but I am excited about Allan Dell, he's a good young prop coming through our system."

Meanwhile Plumtree said that having former All Black Carlos Spencer assisting with training has been enjoyable.

"The players have really enjoyed having Carlos here," Plumtree said on the Sharks site.

"I'd like him here a little longer - he's not here for the whole tournament -he has family back in Joburg. But he will help us through the course of the season, he'll see how we go and he'll come down periodically."

"He will be good for not only our flyhalves but also our backs, he'll also be working on our kicking game. But really, he's just touched the surface of what I want from him."

 
 
 
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