John Plumtree Hollywoodbets Sharks
Sharks coach, John Plumtree. Photo: All Blacks website

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Sharks stars eclipsed by internal issues at the franchise

The Sharks are not short of star power in their stables but their position in the URC points to deeper issues within the franchise.

07-03-24 16:58
John Plumtree Hollywoodbets Sharks
Sharks coach, John Plumtree. Photo: All Blacks website

The Sharks have plenty of star internationals on their books but rooted to the bottom of the URC, it is clear there is a deeper issue at the franchise that speaks to a conflict in opinion and vision.

Recruiting comes under the spotlight as one of the Sharks’ new buys Coenie Oosthuizen is laid out injured and Vincent Koch is yet to appear for the franchise at all.

This comes against the backdrop of letting Thomas du Toit leave and the front row isn’t the only problem area.


But individual positional problems pale in comparison to the picture the team has painted for fans this season.

Across the course of any given match, the Sharks always seem to show a glimpse of something special but that is muddied by coach-killing errors and horrific decision-making.

Five times this season the Sharks have gone down by a single score and in all of those games, they were in a position to record the victory.

The inclusion of Springboks into the mix hasn’t been the shot in the arm they might have hoped.

Bongi Mbonambi’s tangle with referee Aimee Barret-Theron was the latest in a series of self-destructive moments from the Sharks this season.

Even a trophy win in the Challenge Cup wouldn’t paper over the cracks at Kings Park.

The Sharks have not been without positives from outside the Springbok group.

Hanro Jacobs has taken his chance amid a front-row injury crisis and put in an impressive shift in the URC and Challenge Cup this season.


They might have hoped to have Eben Etzebeth available more often as he is unmatched for impact among second rowers right now.

Makazole Mapimpi has still been impressive as a finisher for the Sharks and has done well in the aerial game which often decides URC encounters.

Dylan Richardson has shown that he is of international standard as well even if he is yet to break into the Scotland starting XV.

The Sharks must be aware that the fans’ mood is souring with every head-in-hands moment they deliver.

A recent apology from coach John Plumtree on behalf of the team makes it clear they have at least some idea.

Fans don’t want apologies from coaches or players though they want love letters written on the pitch.

The Sharks can salvage some goodwill in the URC even if their playoff hopes are dead and buried.

Challenge Cup glory does hold a certain allure, but the Sharks will have to up their game considerably to fight through to the Championship match.