“We Won’t Stop Working And We Won’t Stop Trying” – John Plumtree

 

Since the start of the United Rugby Championship in October, it’s been something of a season of ups and downs for the Hollywoodbets Sharks.

The return of their World Cup winning Springboks marked a rise in the team’s stakes, and these players will be available for the remainder of the two tournaments. The shoe is on the other foot for the European sides competing in the Six Nations when they will be playing without their internationals between early February and mid March, although they will miss just two rounds.

After two weeks of Challenge Cup action, the Hollywoodbets Sharks are second in Pool 1, two points behind log leaders, the Toyota Cheetahs. Following the narrow defeat to the Free State side, head coach John Plumtree admitted his disappointment at a result that could so easily have gone the other way, outscoring their hosts 22-17 in the second half.

“We didn’t finish the game off against the Toyota Cheetahs when we were ahead, but I was proud of the way the boys pulled things back in the second half. The talk at half-time was about finding solutions to the issues we had and we did. We could have easily won that game, but our scrum wasn’t good enough in the end. But taking nothing away from the Cheetahs, they showed a lot of character. Coming back from Italy their week would have been compromised, but they have some really good players who wanted it badly.

“For me being a new coach, it’s about working out the strengths and weaknesses of the players and that’s what I’m still trying to do. We want to be successful, we want to do well in the Challenge Cup competition, we want to win all the time.

“We won’t stop working and we won’t stop trying.”

The Hollywoodbets Sharks still have two more Challenge Cup games in the pool stages remaining, against Oyonnax at Hollywoodbets Kings Park on 13 January 2024, before heading overseas to take on Welsh side the Dragons eight days later, the side the Hollywoodbets Sharks defeated 69-14 in late November in Durban.

But before their Challenge Cup fixtures, the Hollywoodbets Sharks will head down to Cape Town for a third derby game in the same month, taking on the DHL Stormers on Saturday 30 December in a round 9 URC match to close out the year.

The Hollywoodbets Sharks are home to the Emirates Lions the following weekend in round 8 of the URC before reverting back to the Challenge Cup.