Lambie dismisses Steyn duel
Sharks playmaker Pat Lambie isn’t getting caught up in all the focus on Saturday's flyhalf battle between him and Bulls counterpart Morné Steyn.
Sharks playmaker Pat Lambie isn’t getting caught up in all the focus on the flyhalf battle between him and Bulls counterpart Morné Steyn ahead of Saturday’s clash in Durban.
The weekend’s derby has been hyped as the battle of the boot between incumbent Springbok pivot Lambie and 42-Test veteran Steyn, who has regained his match-winning form this year after enduring a tough 2012 season that saw him relinquish the Springbok No.10 jumper.
The 22-year-old Sharks flyhalf, in his fourth season of Super Rugby, is no stranger to media attention and dismissed the emphasis put on his position battle with Steyn.
“I’m just going to play my best, to do what the Sharks expect from me, to give us the best chance of winning.
“But I don’t think it’s right to focus on one individual, there are 29 other players out there on the field and it will take a team performance from us to win the game,” Lambie said after Tuesday’s practice.
Looking back on the Australasian tour, he felt that the Sharks had made some mistakes whilst still playing some decent rugby, but that they had identified problem areas and his feeling was that they accomplished what they set out to do against the Western Force at the weekend.
“We’ve played some good rugby lately, but it’s just been a few patches where we’ve let ourselves down a bit, leaking tries and easy points,” he said.
“This was something we wanted to address on the weekend and it was a little better, so it was nice to come home with that win against the Force. There are some positives and hopefully we can build some momentum for this weekend.”
He admitted that not only was their match against the Force about pride, but they had motivation from an external source as well.
“The media made it easier for us last week - it got personal - so there was a lot to play for and a lot to prove,” he said. “I don’t think our effort throughout the season could be faulted, we’ve put our bodies on the line from 1 to 45, that’s the number of players we’ve used so far, and I think this weekend will be no different.”
He felt that in general, the Shark have progressed as the season has, despite the severe injury toll which has hampered team and selection continuity.
“I think our attack has improved,” he admitted. “At the start of the season we were creating opportunities as well, we just weren’t converting them into tries and that’s something that we’ve wanted to touch up on.
“We’ve built phases on numerous occasions and the more phases you build, the more pressure the defence comes under and you get mismatches or opportunities. We try to vary our game, to be unpredictable and play the right options and I believe it’s going ok.”
The win against the Force arrested a run of losses and with the competition now hitting the delicate stage where teams fight for final positions, the Sharks have acknowledged that their season fortunes lie in their own hands and Lambie admitted as much.
“We can only call our season successful if we win all of our remaining games,” he said. “We have four games and a bye left and if we can achieve that, we’ll hopefully be in with a chance of making the play-offs, even if it is in sixth spot.
“The Bulls are going really well at the moment, they’re getting good front-foot ball, their set-piece is functioning nicely and Morné Steyn is kicking nicely.
“It’s been a long time since we were last at home and everyone is really looking forward to it. Hopefully we’ll have a good crowd here, get the Sharks faithful at Kings Park. Playing against the Bulls is always one of the more exciting games to be involved in.”