Plumtree ‘disappointed’ as Sharks hit new low with loss to Zebre

The team from Durban lost all four matches on their overseas tour.

Sharks coach John Plumtree was left a disappointed figure after his team’s shock United Rugby Championship defeat to Zebre in Parma on Friday night.

Plumtree’s side were expected to win against the Italian outfit but ended up losing the match 12-10. There was much jubilation for all those associated with Zebre at the final whistle at the Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi as the team won their first match in 18 months.

Meanwhile, the Sharks players fell to the floor in disbelief with the franchise reaching a new low point since the move into Northern Hemisphere competition.

The Sharks were in front 10-6 at the break thanks to a Cameron Wright converted try and a penalty from Boeta Chamberlain, but in the second half saw Zebre asserted their dominance, putting the Sharks under pressure and having the edge in the set-pieces.

The Italian side scored six points from the kicking tee to win 12-10, much to the disappointment of Plumtree.

‘Tough game’

“Pretty disappointed with the result. Tight game, tough game,” said Plumtree.

“The yellow and red card didn’t help. A lot of our basic skill sets let us down tonight, just losing the aerial battle was a key thing that allowed them to dominate territory.

“We had a couple of nice moments on attack but really didn’t capitalise on the opportunities that were available.

“I was proud of the effort around our goal line defence, and a lot of the young players really stood up physically,” he said.

The loss to Zebre added salt to the Sharks’ wounds as they have now lost all four of their matches on their concluded tour of the UK and Europe. They remain winless in the URC and are at the bottom of the table.

“Disappointing tour,” said the Sharks mentor.

“We could have picked up a win or two … that didn’t happen. We’re looking forward to getting back home now and we will reset and work hard to get some momentum going and improve our results at home,” Plumtree said.

Next weekend the Sharks will host Irish side Connacht in Durban’s Kings Park Stadium.