‘Travel won’t hurt Sharks’

Chiefs coach Dave Rennie believes that the Sharks’ gruelling travel schedule will not cost them in the Super Rugby Final.

Having beaten the Reds in Brisbane before knocking the Stormers out in Cape Town, the Sharks face the daunting challenge of travelling all the way to Hamilton for the final on Saturday, but Rennie has dismissed the significance of the trip.

The Chiefs boss said that his team’s performance earlier this season when they won their matches either side of the long journey back from South Africa proves that with focus and proper preparation the influence of travel fatigue can be effectively dealt with.

He told Newstalk ZB: “We went to Africa played the Cheetahs first up at altitude and went really well, travelled all the way home played the Hurricanes and fronted really well in that game too.

“So it’s about getting the bodies right and getting the head right so attitude is key, I don’t believe (it will be) the issue that a lot of people are talking about,” said Rennie.

The Chiefs coach said that the Sharks will be full of confidence having beaten the conference winners in Australia and South Africa on consecutive weekends, and added that they should be even more physical than they were when the sides met in Durban earlier in the season.

“They’re a good side and have been the form South African side over the last six weeks so they will be a real handful.

“When we last played them it was a time when they were pretty battered and bruised, having played eight in a row and just returned from New Zealand, and we were at the end of an overseas leg so we were pretty tired too.

“We know a bit about them from that game and know what to expect. They got into us and certainly targeted Sonny [Bill Williams] and were able to disrupt a bit of our ball,” he said.

The Sharks left for Sydney on Sunday evening and will stay there until Thursday in a bid to overcome the effects of the trip before going across to New Zealand.

Sharks coach John Plumtree said that whilst he may struggle to overcome the shift in time zones he is confident his players will be able to adjust quickly once they arrive in Australia.

“I normally have to take sleeping tablets for about a week but the players are younger and they get over it quicker, and we will prepare smartly – we will do a fair bit of sleeping,” he said.

Plumtree said that he expects the Chiefs to launch a fierce physical onslaught to knock his team off their stride after two taxing knock-out duels.

The Waikato side were formidable in the physical exchanges in their semifinal victory over the Crusaders and Plumtree said that his team can expect much the same treatment in the final.

“That game there wasn’t alot of space and big players like Sonny Bill [Williams] and Liam Messam made the difference. At the end of the day they put the Crusaders off their stride just with their physicality and we will be expecting some of that ourselves,” he said.

Article source: http://sport.iafrica.com/news/808246.html