The Hollywoodbets Sharks open their account of the Vodacom United Rugby Championship tonight when they take on Munster in Ireland in a huge tussle in the opening round of the tournament.
Speaking from the team’s base in Ireland, Hollywoodbets Sharks head coach John Plumtree is looking forward to the start of the competition and seeing how the team has responded to the new concepts and culture that he is driving.
Results aside, what the coach wants to see most from his team is their attitude towards their output in this game.
“I just expect maximum effort,” he admits.
“We’ve talked a lot around the team we want to become. We know we’re going to make mistakes, but we’re going to be more ambitious with the ball. We’ve worked really hard around our attack, Dave Williams has done a great job in that space and we feel like we have some really nice structure and we’ve worked really hard on that.”
This is a team that is growing under Plumtree and as they evolve into where he wants them to be, the Hollywoodbets Sharks will be a side that places attacking rugby at the forefront.
“If we want to grow over the years, we have to become a side that’s an attacking threat. But people will need to be patient with us, we’re trying to grow in every part of our game, particularly in the attack space.
“In saying that, I don’t want to sound like I’m making excuses, every time the boys slip on the jersey, the expectation is to win.
“We’ve worked really hard and I’d like to think that some of that stuff we get to see tonight.”
Shifting focus onto Munster, four-time champions, Plumtree warns his team are going to be up against a side that has every intention of showing why they’re the defending champs.
“Having worked here for a year, I’ve watched Irish rugby grow. They have very skilful players and the provinces are playing quite similar rugby to the national team, so they’ve developed their skills in a different phase to ours.
“Munster have lots of threats across the park, their attack – as we saw last year against the Stormers – they will play no matter the conditions, because of their skills.
“But they still have those old traditional values of Munster rugby that were developed over the years; that they’re really tough, their set-piece is very important to them.
“They are missing some players, but they have a squad that’s been playing together for a fair while and it’s the old story in this case, when one guy moves out, and other slips in and does a good job.
“We know this is going to be a tough game.”