Sharks dismiss rift rumours
March 16, 2010
Sharks skipper John Smit has dismissed concerns over their current state of affaris © Getty Images
Sharks coach John Plumtree and skipper John Smit have spoken out over speculation that there is a rift in the camp.
The Durban-based franchise are currently without a win in this year's Super 14 tournament but both coach and captain have been riled by the suggestion that behind-the-scenes problems are the reason for their slump.
"I am sick of reading that," Plumtree said. "It's being sensationalised, it's incorrect and questionable and it irritates me because it's all unfounded criticism. Yes, confidence can take a knock when you are losing and we're no different to any other team. What is irritating me is all the reports of the team being unhappy, all generated as sensational talk by some aspects of the media.
"The team is really happy and working hard. We're obviously not satisfied with where we're at on the log, but the team have accepted that the responsibility is up to them, and whatever 15 or 22 are involved in the weekend, they know what they have to do."
Smit echoed Plumtree's thoughts and insisted that their close defeats show that there is no conflict among the squad. The Sharks have been hammered only once this season, by the Crusaders, and followed a 25-21 loss to the Waratahs with a 24-22 reversal at the hands of the Brumbies last weekend.
"I can tell you that if there was a rift in the camp, we wouldn't be competitive," he said. "That makes it even more ridiculous. I've been on tours where things weren't right within the team, when guys jump ship. We lost by 40 or 50 points.
"But there is no way we would be trying so hard if there was a rift in the camp. The rumours are completely untrue. This team is committed and with these rumours going around, I find that very irritating, because they simply aren't happening. To Plum's [coach John Plumtree] credit, of all the things we've got right, he's managed to get the team to stick together in these tough times. Losing is not easy for any side, but we're not losing because there are problems in the camp, that much I can tell you."
"The loudest cheer at a rugby game, away from social media gimmicks, pumping music and pyrotechnics will always be for a try." Tom Hamilton on the Twickenham atmosphere
"The only thing that will stop this England team from becoming a great team is themselves. They need to ask themselves 'what can we be?'" The Phil Vickery column
The latest Monday Maul looks at the hectic final weekend, the Lions hangover, the superb Mike Brown and the 'selfie'
"At the crux of this England team is a lack of fear, they are not afraid to throw playbooks out of the window." Tom Hamilton reports from Twickenham