John Plumtree has lamented a lack of cohesion and dysfunctional set-piece performance from the Sharks in their heavy defeat to the Vodacom Bulls on Saturday.
Stedman Gans and Akker van der Merwe each scored a brace of tries and Kurt-Lee Arendse and Elrigh Louw also crossed, with Johan Goosen adding four conversions and a pair of penalties, as the Bulls thrashed the Sharks 44-10 at Loftus Versfeld in the Vodacom URC.
The Durbanites welcomed back their world champion Springboks last week as Plumtree’s troops demolished the Dragons, but came crashing down to earth in Pretoria with their sixth defeat of the season.
Speaking post-match at Loftus, Plumtree told reporters: “Clearly we’re still not a team. Last week we played against a Welsh side that was probably under the pump in the conditions in Durban and were pretty tired.
“That Bulls side are a real team. Collectively, they’re a bit ahead of us so that’s our challenge. We’ve got to dig deep and become a team, because we didn’t look like we got a lot of things right today.
“Physically, we didn’t look like we were in the right space and obviously a lot of guys missed their mental prep. We felt like we had a good week, but clearly there’s a lot of individuals in this team that didn’t turn up and that’s not good enough.
“I take a lot of pride in this jersey and we didn’t show that today, we didn’t look like we had our soul. So disappointing, real disappointing.”
The Sharks will regroup to launch their maiden campaign in the Challenge Cup against French outfit Pau at Kings Park next Saturday, and Plumtree added: “The foundation of this team isn’t solid enough but I still think we could’ve been better than that.
“I’m not taking anything away from the Bulls and we’re aspiring to be like that. They’ve got a great squad, Jake’s done a good job of that.
“They exposed us at set piece, and they looked like they were really hungry and came to play, and we conceded some soft tries. We were never really in it.
“We did win ball [in the lineouts] but it was wobbly ball and didn’t help our lineout launch. Our scrum, I don’t know what happened there but it just seemed to be collapse after collapse after collapse and we got on the wrong end of that.
“We have to have a look at ourselves. There looked like some pretty rusty rugby players out there and not just the ones I’ve had all the time, but some ones who’ve returned from France. Hopefully they’ll be better off after that performance for next week.”
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