Saturday’s Stormers v Sharks clash will be one of the games of the competition, reckons John Plumtree.

Whether it is about revenge or simply Super 15 points, Saturday’s Stormers v Sharks clash will be one of the games of the competition, reckons John Plumtree.

It was put to the Sharks coach that the word in Cape Town is that his players will be hell bent on avenging their loss to the Capetonians in Durban a month ago.

“Yeah that is how it is, there is no point in beating about the bush, we are after them ….” he said playfully. “The last time I said a game between these teams was about revenge was before the Currie Cup final last year (after the Sharks have shocked the Stormers in the Super 14). It seems the coaches are taking turns at bringing ‘revenge mode’ into it.

“No, look they caught us last time and we feel we are better than that match,” Plumtree continued. “In all seriousness, I said striaght after the Hurricanes match that we looking forward to this game and they no doubt are looking forward to having us, and I am sure everybody is looking forward to watching. It is just one of those contests that capture the imagination, I guess, between two teams that are going alright.”

The Sharks appear to be in relatively good health for the match, with Plumtree confirming that Jean Deysel will make his long-awaited comeback (off the bench) and that Bismarck du Plessis will be fit to return to action, as will Alistair Hargreaves.

The touchy decision on whether to bring Deysel back to the top flight after 10 months on the sidelines was made easier by the ankle injury sustained by Jacques Botes against the Hurrricanes.

“I have been watching Jean’s progression over the last month in the Vodacom Cup and he has steadily improved towards the level of game we associate with him,” Plumtree said.

With Springbok Deysel among the substitutes along with one of John Smit, Du Plessis or The Beast, plus added depth at lock now that Hargreaves is fit, Plumtree is hopeful that the bench will make a big impact in this match

“It is seldom that I have the luxury of having almost everybody fit, but when we are in this position I have serious choices to make, but the choice the players have is how well they play to keep their positions. When everybody is playing well, the bench is strong and we are strong as a group. It means you can pick up your intensity in the second half, when you can bring on hungry, quality players. It makes a big difference.”

That bench will be all the more important given the certain physical intensity of this match. The Stormers believe the way to beat the Sharks is to win the gain-line game and stop the Sharks’ game in its tracks.

“Well, we can dish up what they can dish up, and that is what will make this contest so watchable – the physical side, the speed of the game, defence, and the tactical kicking, which will be very important,” Plumtree observed. “They got us in that area (kicking) last time, and they will fancy dominating us in the line-outs again.

by Mike Greenaway

Peter de Villiers is getting his knickers in a knot about his captain John Smit

Peter de Villiers is getting his knickers in a knot about his captain John Smit both prematurely and needlessly, for the answer to the conundrum he speaks of is laid before him every weekend in Super Rugby.

Simply do what the Sharks are doing. That is the answer to the question he is so intent on putting out to the media – “How can I pick John for the World Cup when he is not playing hooker?”

When you have a player so uniquely versatile as Smit – no other player in recollection can play tighthead, hooher and loosehead at Test level – who is also arguably the world’s best captain, and a player as exceptional as Bismarck du Plessis, you surely look at what both can collectively do for the team, and cash in on your good fortune at having both at your disposal at the same time.

Don’t try and pick one or other – make it work to your advantage or, as Julius Malema might add, “a Boer maak a plan”.

Except in this case it has been a Kiwi, in that the Plumtrees are proud Taranaki farmers. Come to mention it, Bismarck and Jannie du Plessis are passionate dairy farmers and the pair drive the three and half hours to their beloved Bethehem herd every half-gap they get. It has probably helped the Sharks in hanging on to the much-hunted brothers that Cape Town (or Toulon for that matter) is in a totally different travel bracket to Durban-Bethehem … but now we are seriously digressing, although it has been fun.

So back to Smitty and Bismarck. Smitty has been proven to be one of the best hookers the world has seen since Jake White prophetically and wisely changed him from tighthead prop to hooker way back in 2000, when Jake was assistant coach to Huge Reece-Edwards at the Sharks. That move was one of the few bright things to come out of a disastrous season for the Sharks.

I recall very clearly Jake saying at the time: “I am telling you now that if John Smit remains at prop it is doubtful anybody will recall his name in 10 years from now given the number of props we have in this country, but if he changes to hooker, he will become a great.”

Good on ya Jake, as Eddie Jones would say, you were spot on.

And almost ten years later Peter de Villiers changed Smit back to prop, at the end of the victorious 2009 season which saw the Boks win five out of six Tri-Nations games hot on the heels of the series triumph against the Lions.

And that was in reaction to the growing emergence of the Mighty Bismarck. So Div must not forget that this prop business with Smitty started with him.

Smit, with the decorum we have grown to associate with a revered gentleman of the game, graciously accepted the challenge of stepping aside and reinventing himself in a tighthead prop position he had not played since a youth.

Smit’s first game there was against Wales in Cardiff in 2008 (he had a very good game against a tough Welsh front row) but as fate would decree it, two minutes into the next tour game, against Scotland, Bismarck badly tore a hamstring, and Smit was back at hooker.

He was the hooker for the entire 2009 season, and back at prop in 2010 through until the end of the Tri-Nations, when he underwent neck surgery.

In 2011 he is captain of the Sharks and has played every position in the front row while leading the team superbly in one form or another, even if at times Stefan Terblanche has been the on-field captain.

Honestly, why should things be different with the Springboks?

Instead of making Table Mountain into Everest, De Villiers should embrace the fact that he has been blessed with simultaneously having world-renowned players in Sreemit and Du Plessis at his disposal and, if it is with his cerebral capacity, he must advance it to the benefit of South Africa rather than regard is as a simple surmise of “Bismarck or John!”

by Mike Greenaway

leave the eggs buy some cd’s this easter

What a pleasant number of albums I have listened to in the last 48 hours .

Funny how my taste has changed .Must be my ten year old daughter telling dad what is cool, but the number one album to purchase is NOW 57 full of current hits including GoldFish Pink, Katy Perry and many more. 21 tracks in total all winners.

The other goodie is Chris Brown Fame a top R&B grind .Number 1 album in the U.S.A as we speak ,highlights include Deuces ,Yeah 3x.

Freshlyground also have new album out a repackage of Radio Africa with the waka waka song and a remix of big man as the bonus tracks, not too sure about this one, everyone who ever wanted waka waka has it from the fifa album last year?

Britney spears is also sounding great with Femme Fatale, over 55 million records sold in a career, can’t go wrong with good 2011 pop.

My highlight though is the thinking persons Sarah Mclauglin a lady called Sara Bareilles album is called Kaleidoscope heart , 15 amazing songs .a great listening record to play from start to finish .Trust me on this.

John Plumtree and Ma’a Nonu, the Hurricane’s flying brick outhouse

John Plumtree and Ma’a Nonu, the Hurricane’s flying brick outhouse, are close friends but while the Sharks coach is cautioning his men that the All Blacks centre is stirring into form, he would prefer Nonu to slumber for one more week.

“We always have a laugh about our battles since I moved on from coaching at Wellington (five years ago),” Plumtree said ahead of Saturday’s clash between the Hurricanes and the Sharks in Durban (5pm). Because I know him so well, I would say that by his high standards he is yet to hit his best form this season, but having said that, I see signs that he is primed to explode, but if he could hold off for another week, his old coach would appreciate it!”

Plumtree bases his gut feeling on Nonu on the Hurricanes’ shift in playing pattern against the Cheetahs last week.

“They used the ball more than in previous matches and played a game based on more width,” the Sharks coach reflected. “They possibly realised the value of going back to their traditional strength. On attack, more passes started to stick for them and they looked better when they got Ma’a and Hosea (Gear) into space.

And the Canes’ attacking ability has been strengthened by the return from paternity leave of fullback Corey Jane.

“I think they are changing their game to suit their strengths and that is going to make the likes of Ma’a, Corey and Hosea all the more dangerous,” Plumtree.

“That said, it is worrying when you score 50 points (against the Cheetahs) but only win by three points – both teams will be disappointed with the number of points conceded, and the Hurricanes will be working hard on their defence this week, as we will be on shutting down their big strike runners out wide.”

On attack, the Sharks will be better served by the return of fit-again Patrick Lambie for Jacques-Louis Potgieter.

“Patrick has a lot more experience of the way we want to play the game (stretching back into last year’s Currie Cup), so you could say we have missed him but at the same time have had tough games while he was away, including the Crusaders and the Stormers,” Plumtree said. “Jacque’s goal-kicking has let him down a bit, and he will be the first to admit it, but he has been good in general play and, to be fair, it takes time for a 10 to settle in.

“I have been happy with his progress – he carried the ball a lot against the Lions, which we asked him to do – but it is good to have Pat back because he understands what we are trying to do as a unit

Players named for national team planning session

Sharks coach meets Bok coach re Bok Captain

MIKE GREENAWAY

John Plumtree’s much publicised meeting in Durban on Monday with Springbok coach Peter de Villiers was an obvious line of questioning when the Sharks coach conducted his weekly media briefing in the Shark Tank yesterday, and Plumtree was succinct on the John Smit issue.

We can deduce that the only topic on De Villiers’ agenda was: “How can I pick my captain (Smit) in the position I have earmarked for him at hooker when the Sharks are not playing him there?”

Nevertheless, it was a “positive meeting” according to Plumtree who has been picking Bismarck du Plessis at hooker, and is set to do the same for Saturday’s home match against the Hurricanes (5pm).

“How I use John at the Sharks is an insight to how the Springboks could use him (rotating him around the front row to exploit his unique versatility as well as using him as an impact player off the bench),” Plumtree said. “How I am using John suits our team dynamics, but when Peter gets his team together, how he uses John is totally up to him. Right now John is happy with how we are playing him at the Sharks. He is in his last year of rugby and just wants to enjoy his game. He is in a good place and is enjoying his rugby.

“The gist of my chat with Peter is that I am doing what is best for the Sharks,” Plumtree concluded. “That is pretty much what our chat was based on.”

Co-incidentally, the man on Plumtree’s right at the press conference was none other than Smit’s rival for the Springbok No 2 jersey, Bismarck du Plessis, who was the player on media duty because of his consistently good performances for the Sharks.

No other player in the tournament has affected as many turnovers of opposition ball than the Bethlehem cattle farmer, who is also South Africa’s top forward try scorer in the competition.

“I try to contribute to the best of my ability in every aspect of the game, not just winning ball at the rucks,” he said. “Everybody wants to play their best rugby to push for positions come the end of the year…”

One area involving the Mighty Bismarck that has not gone well for the Sharks has been the line-out, where it has not so much been a case of errant throwing-in of the ball but poorly judged calls.

In this department, for years the Sharks relied on experienced and wily heads in Albert van den Berg and Johann Muller and are now struggling a touch with authoritative decision-making.

“We are in the process of rebuilding our line-outs,” Du Plessis said. “We have lost senior guys and it is a case where Alistair Hargreaves is new (and now injured!) while Steven Sykes for five years or so never had to make a call (because of Muller and Van den Berg).”

And overall, the Sharks are kind of in no man’s land in terms of how they are playing, according to burly Bismarck.

“We have been neither good nor bad,” he said. “We need to play a lot better. When we had our review on Monday, we agreed that we have been playing 10 minutes of good rugby followed by 15 minutes of bad rugby, and so on, and that has got to change as we approach crunch time.”

The former Grey College pupil said that he had followed the Cheetahs v Hurricanes match at the weekend with keen interest.

“Both sides were devastating when they carried the ball but I think both camps will agree that defence let them down, so the Hurricanes will be focussed on sorting that out against us.

“And with Patrick Lambie coming back at flyhalf we have a different player (to Jacques-Louis Potgieter, who deputised while Lambie was out with a broken finger) and one who is very good for our game of keeping the ball in hand,” Du Plessis continued. “So we could well play the open game of our Currie Cup campaign.”

DRUM Beat Soweto -30th April -with Sipho Mabuse and many other artists in concert

DRUM Beat Soweto – Come feel the beat!

DRUM Magazine is delighted to announce the brand new DRUM Beat Soweto music concert, in association with, Amstel Lager and Hilltop Live. Bursting onto the scene with a diverse and eclectic line-up.

This is a first for DRUM magazine and the new concert shall take place on 30 April 2011, at the enchanting and picturesque setting of Mofolo Park in Soweto, Johannesburg.

The concert is set to be a day-night event that will be tailored to encourage people to come with their camp chairs, picnic blankets and braai stand and spend the day at the park, whilst enjoying the festivities courtesy of DRUM.

With some extraordinary live performances from some of the foremost South African musicians, Hugh Masekela, Sipho ‘Hotstix’ Mabuse, Theo Kgosinkwe, Malaika and more exciting local acts will be taking to the stage to start the day off.

The line up

Hugh Masekela

Described as “The man with the horn”, Hugh Masekela is a living icon, a genius musician and great performer. The Johannesburg born, Masekela has covered the globe and played with just about every top star you can think of. The internationally acclaimed Masekela has written a number of international hits and sold several million CDs throughout his career. His hit “Bring Him Back Home” became the anthem for Nelson Mandela’s world tour following his release from prison. All his recent albums have all gone platinum. He is known for his charisma to fans, his mix of jazz, bebop, funk and Afrobeat from New York to Dakar.

Sipho ‘Hotstix’ Mabuse

One of the country’s best-loved and most respected musicians, Sipho ‘Hotstix’ Mabuse, is more than just a musician or an artist, he is a legend. Over the course of his illustrious career, Sipho has become an integral part of the entertainment industry and his contributions to the musical landscape of South Africa are appreciated and honoured by music lovers the world over. Concert goers can definitely look forward to an engaging mix of authentic and vibrant songs from his performance.

Theo Kgosinkwe

In an effort to bring fans closer to their favourite musicians, Amstel has launched Amstel Golden Hour, a year-long premium music experience that promotes and supports South African talent at major music festivals and events.

The Amstel Golden Hour is proud to present the accomplished singer song writer, Theo Kgosinkwe. Theo shall be performing his unique and diverse sounds ranging from Afro-Pop, Gospel, Jazz and even Dance tunes. The 2009 SAMA Award winner Theo Kgosinkwe, once half of Mafikizolo offers an unforgettable musical experience for all, and with his distinctive and breath-taking vocal performance, it is no secret why AMSTEL chose him to be the Golden Hour for this concert.

Amstel Golden Hour has already wowed audiences at four major concerts around the country, showcasing and contributing to the performances of South Africa’s top musical talent.

Malaika

Since Malaika released the self-titled debut album Malaika in 2003, they have become the darlings of South African fans. The album which contained the massive cross over hit song Destiny sold over 350 000 units. The band that consists of artists Bongani Nchang and Matshediso Mholo easily display to the rest of the world how much talent South Africa has to offer. This incredible Afro-pop music group, whose music has been described as post-kwaito, post-mbaqanga and neo-soul, are definitely guaranteed to get all music lovers up and dancing to their songs.

So be sure to pack a picnic basket and bring the whole family to enjoy an afternoon of great authentic South African musical acts.

Tickets are available at www.ticketbreak.co.za or selected Musica stores.

Gates open 13h00

Facilities available: Bar and food stalls

Contact:

For any media related enquiries, please contact Tess Manders on tessm

For any general enquiries, please contact info

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