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Plumtree says Sharks are up for challenge

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Sportal.co.nz     25 Jul 2012     Getty Images

As the side trained at home on Tuesday after their trek to Brisbane to beat the Reds and qualify for their semi-final with the Stormers in Cape Town on Sunday (NZT), Plumtree said special care would be taken in the side's preparation because of what they had been through.

The side would be up for the challenge, however, he said.

"We've got to be smart about our preparation," he said on the Sharks website.

"Everyone will be talking about the travel factor, but we knew we'd have to travel again if we got through our play-off.

"We've had to come back to South Africa and the players are positive, at least they can sleep in their own beds and spend time with family. It's always nice coming home."

The win over the Reds was the performance of the season so far as he was concerned.

"I thought they boys played some great rugby. I was really proud of the way they performed. We had to absorb a lot of pressure, but the way we defended said a lot about the effort.

"Our tackle stats were right up there and we spent a lot of time in our 22 in the second half. But our attack was good in the first half, and our defence was impressive in the second half, and in between, the set piece function well," he said.

The Stormers would be a big challenge for the Sharks, they very rarely lost at home and had been consistent performers to finish top of the South African conference.

"They've been sitting back and waiting while we're coming back after some travel, it's a different scenario for both teams this week, I'm sure they will have been doing a lot of preparation. We've built up some good momentum over the last few weeks, but we are coming up against a different animal this week," he said.

The side is still likely to be without five-eighths/fullback Pat Lambie.