James Mortimer 09.Aug.2012Getty Images
While the Sharks – along with the Bulls, Cheetahs, Lions and Stormers – are Super Rugby franchises, they have very close connections to their Currie Cup counterparts (in the Natal Sharks, Blue Bulls, Free State, Golden Lions and Western Province), and in most cases the Republic’s Super Rugby coaches switch to Currie Cup mode this week.
It is an interesting move for Natal, one of the recent powerhouses of the domestic competition of late, losing to the Golden Lions in the final last year, while in 2010 they defeated Western Province to lift the Cup – the same team they will kick off their season against this year.
Plumtree said he will be overseeing the team for that match, before taking a break.
Assistant coaches Grant Bashford and Hugh Reece-Edwards will take charge of the Sharks.
"There'll be a point in this competition I'll be taking a break from rugby," Plumtree said.
"It will come in the next couple of weeks. Everything will carry on as usual, I will be around, but other senior coaches will take charge of the team.”
Plumtree was obviously disappointed with his team’s 37-6 loss to the Chiefs in the final, a match where many South African media have suggested the side was already defeated before kick-off, courtesy of over 30,000km of travelling during the Super Rugby Final’s Series.
"We're obviously disappointed, but I was also very proud of the team,” he said.
“There's a lot to look forward to in the future with these players.
"We're just going to look forward to this Currie Cup now. It was a fairly emotional time for all of us, but it's in the past now.”
The season will be challenging for the union even without Plumtree for some time, as a record ten Sharks have been called up for the Springboks squad for The Rugby Championship, while Ryan Kankowski and Fred Michalak have left the region.