Proud of the Effort

The Hollywoodbets Sharks went into Friday evening’s Vodacom United Rugby Championship clash with Glasgow Warriors knowing that they were entering hostile enemy territory, a home fortress that does not offer much in the way of welcome hospitality for visiting teams.

With an eye on the EPCR Challenge Cup semi-final and the need to rest senior players who have carried a heavy workload over the last few weeks, this match was an ideal opportunity to continue to grow squad depth while freshening up the players who will be filtered back into the side for the upcoming URC match against the Scarlets, and the semi-final against Clermont Auvergne at the Twickenham Stoop a week later on Saturday 4 May.

“I’m really proud of the boys’ effort, it showed me that they weren’t intimidated in that environment which is quite a fortress for them,” Hollywoodbets Sharks head coach John Plumtree said after the match.

Given all the changes in an intricate planning period over the course of the demands and aspirations across the two competitions, team selection for the match reflected the need to balance player need for work and for rest.

“A lot of boys hadn’t played for a while so we looked rusty, particularly for the first 25 minutes and our skillsets let us down in the pressure zones like the tackle area.

“We couldn’t capitalise on the territory we did get in the first half.”  

As the game progressed and the Hollywoodbets Sharks started to gel as a team, with the added coming to terms with the 5g pitch, so Glasgow started to feel the pressure. Accomplished as they are at home with an enviable record against visiting teams, the Scots were actually outscored one try to nil and held completely scoreless in the second half.

“That try before half-time hurt us, but I was impressed with a lot of our defence, we really swamped them and I was really proud of that effort,” said Plumtree.

“The big thing was playing for 80 minutes, we didn’t think we’d be a cohesive side because this team hasn’t played together, but I was really, really happy with the effort.

“It was a great start to our tour – even though we lost – some guys put their hands up and we look forward to the rest of the boys joining in Wales from Durban where we’ll have a good week as we look forward to the Scarlets’ game.”

The Hollywoodbets Sharks’ next assignment sees them head to Wales to take on the 14th placed Scarlets at Parc y Scarlets on Friday evening before heading to London for the highly-anticipated EPCR Challenge Cup semi-final.