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Sharks are trying to fix parts of the game against Benetton
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Sharks are trying to fix parts of the game against Benetton

Sharks coach John Plumtree will be looking to fine-tune aspects of their game when they take on Italian side Benetton in the United Rugby Championship at King’s Park Stadium in Durban on Saturday (kick-off 4.05pm).

With the Sharks having one eye on the Challenge Cup final against England’s Gloucester at the end of the month, their URC matches with Benetton this weekend and next weekend’s clash with Cardiff serve as preparatory games.

Plumtree has fielded its best available squad, with seven of their Rugby World Cup-winning Springboks set to play the Benetton match.

‘Work on things before it’s final’

The Sharks mentor said he wants the players to work on things they failed to do during their dramatic Challenge Cup semi-final win against Clermont last weekend.

“It’s more about fixing parts of our game that we know will be crucial in the final (against Gloucester in the Challenge Cup),” Plumtree said as he explained his selection.

“I think we need to play well in some areas that I wasn’t happy with against Clermont. I think it certainly wasn’t a perfect match on our part.

“We were disappointed with our set piece, it didn’t function as well as we would like. So we’ve had a good two days working on some of the areas that have let us down. I want to put that right and Benetton is also a very good team,” he said.

Sharks for a good workout

Plumtree said Benetton, who sit eighth with 44 points on the URC points table, will give them a good test in Durban.

“Benetton will be real quality opposition for us,” Plumtree said.

“Their set pieces worked very well. They don’t kick out much, so we get a lot of opportunities to counter-attack or rebuild after the kicking match.

“Our defense is going to get a good workout because they are playing with a lot of flair; there are a lot of Italian internationals there.”

Even though the Sharks are out of the running for the URC play-offs, they will be aiming to finish well and maintain the good form they are in.

“It’s important that we keep some momentum going,” Plumtree said.

“We have won six of the last seven games, so we are starting to build up nicely towards the end of the season.”