The Hollywoodbets Sharks are excited to be back home this weekend for the Vodacom United Rugby Championship when they host Benetton Rugby at Hollywoodbets Kings Park in front of their home crowd.

The team has enjoyed a purple patch of success over the last couple of monthsch and today’s clash with the Italians is another opportunity to build on that success and entertain the Hollywoodbets Sharks supporters.

Reflecting on the growth of his team, head coach of the Hollywoodbets Sharks John Plumtree admitted before the game that, “I was really pleased with the effort last week and how we found a way to win the game.”

The way his team came back from a difficult position showed that the team’s development is on the right trajectory.

Analysing team selection for this game, it is reflective of his desire to fine-tune a few of the team’s critical performance indicators.

“It was more about us, I feel we need to play well in a couple of areas that I wasn’t happy with against Clermont. It certainly wasn’t a perfect game from our side, our set-piece didn’t function as well as we wanted it to. But we’ve had a good week working on some of the areas that let us down and I want to fix that up.

“Benetton are a really good side and it’s important that we do well in our home games. We’re looking for a good performance from the boys.”

Benetton also played in last week’s EPCR Challenge Cup semi-final, so they will come to Durban smarting from their loss. Plumtree warned that neither side will be taking this game lightly.

“They are going to provide real quality opposition for us; their set-piece has been functioning really well, they don’t kick out much so we’re going to get a lot of opportunity for counter-attack, or practice our rebuilding from kick contest, and our defence is going to get a good workout because they play with a lot of flair. They have a number of Italian internationals in their side and they’re not scared to have a go.

“They’ll want to beat us because they want to progress up the URC log. It’s a really good hit-out for us before the [EPCR Challenge Cup] final.”

While much of the talk is about the EPCR Challenge Cup Final coming up soon, Plumtree has warned his players not to lose sight of the importance of maintaining their form and success.

“I know it’s really exciting times for us with the big final in London coming up, but I’ve asked the players to focus on Benetton. We have to perform well this week, and next week against Cardiff, so it’s really important that we don’t get too far ahead of ourselves and keep the boys focus on the immediate job. The players are really excited about the next two or three weeks, but it’s important that we focus on what’s right ahead of us now, and that’s Benetton.”

With only three changes to the starting XV, this team is showing their true potential and they won’t want to lift their feet off the pedal at this stage.

“It’s important that we maintain some momentum, the team I’ve named shows a lot of continuity. It’s also a lot around confidence, we’ve won six out of our last seven games, so we’re starting to build nicely towards the back end of the season and now we have this real opportunity to win some silverware.

“I gave the players a couple of days off after the Clermont game to freshen up and there’s a nice bounce in their step. The key for us is to make sure we go out there and play well in front of our home crowd which is really important to us.

“We feel like we’re winning some support back after a disappointing big part of the season and we want to keep that support.”