Sharks coach John Plumtree remains pragmatic about their title chances.
The Sharks downed the Blues 35-31 in Auckland on Saturday and were very impressive in the manner they went about their task.
They’ve now won four on the bounce, with the Blues their second successive win on tour. The Force and Reds remain and they can certainly feel justified in the belief that they can break the Bulls’ record for the most wins on tour for a South African franchise (three).
“The one thing this team does know how to do is win. We won 12 games in a row to win the Currie Cup and now we have won four games of Super 14. This team is finding ways to win and that’s huge,” said Plumtree.
“We set ourselves a goal of going unbeaten in New Zealand and being able to achieve that is outstanding,” said Plumtree. “We have got the credentials to do well in this competition but it does not give you the right to win it.”
Plumtree lauded his side’s scramble defence, guts and character. These characteristics were all on show in their narrow victory over the Chiefs last week. However, against the Blues they added a touch of refinement to their play, and while the scoreline suggests a close match, a late Blues try simply distorted the fact that they were comprehensively outplayed.
While Plumtree toasted to a sweet victory on Saturday evening, Blues coach Pat Lam was left with a bitter taste in his mouth. He believes wing Joe Rokocoko was tackled by offside defenders as he lunged for the line for the score that would have brought them right back into the contest.
Keegan Daniel cleared his lines with a kick and from the subsequent passage of play John Smit scored the try that beat the fight out of Lam’s charges.
“It was a deflating moment for the team,” said Lam. “It was a little frustrating, we had the comms and you could clearly see the defence was offside. The touch judge called it but the ref over-ruled it and they were 80-90m down the field. It was a 14-point turnaround really,” he said.