Plumtree: Canes have got better

Assistant coach John Plumtree says the Hurricanes have learned from their 32-15 regular-season defeat to the Sharks at Kings Park in May.

It was a disappointing result for the Canes, who had thrashed the Lions 50-17 at Ellis Park the week before.

However, the Wellington-based franchise recovered from that Durban defeat, going on to top the overall standings and earn a home quarter-final against the Sharks this Saturday. They will also play their semi-final and the final at Westpac Stadium if they progress that far.

'We didn't get our preparation right in Durban and we pretty much got manhandled by the Sharks,' said Plumtree, who coached the Sharks for five years, of the teams' last meeting. 'They slowed down our ball and we just can't afford for that type of thing to happen.

'Our lineout didn't function, we turned 28, 29 balls over, from a possession point of view, and if we do that in the weekend we'll come second again.

'It's pretty clear that we didn't prepare well in Durban and that mirrored the performance. So we've learned from that and got better.'

However, Plumtree added that the Hurricanes couldn't afford to underestimate the Sharks, who only left for New Zealand on Tuesday and will have just one training session before the game.

'The Sharks don't mind touring New Zealand. On the last eight occasions I think the Hurricanes have beaten them twice, so we've got a horrible record against the Sharks.

'In 2012 [when Plumtree was Sharks coach] we flew to Queensland [for a quarter-final] and played the Reds and beat them. We flew to the Stormers [and beat them in Cape Town] and came back to the Chiefs in the final, so this team's not scared of travelling.

'They've got a lot of massive characters in that team and they know how to win in New Zealand. Them coming to us, they'll be excited about that and they know what they can do to the Hurricanes.'

Photo: Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

Post by

Simon Borchardt