Lambie to hit the ground running

Mon, 14 Jul 2014 09:55
Large jake lambie.jpg630

Sharks Director of Rugby Jake White will have no hesitation in starting Pat Lambie against the Highlanders this weekend if the flyhalf is fit.

Sharks Director of Rugby Jake White will have no hesitation in starting Pat Lambie against the Highlanders this weekend if the flyhalf is fit.

The Bok playmaker has been sidelined for some time with a torn bicep and may be available for the Sharks' play-off match against the Highlanders in Durban on Saturday.

The versatile Frans Steyn has slotted in well at No.10 for the Sharks in his absence, but White would ideally like him at inside centre playing outside Lambie as they look to book a semifinal against the Crusaders in Christchurch.

He explained that he has every confidence that Lambie will be able to slot straight back in and produce his best on his return in a high-pressure play-off match.

"The one thing about Lambie is that he seems to have that knack of coming back and being man of the match. Also we have got to bank on us winning this game, the next one and the next one so I have got to eventually do it if I believe he is good enough," he said.

White pointed out that the Highlanders are in a very similar position with regular flyhalf Lima Sopoaga not involved in their defeat to the Crusaders last week and said that he will be interested to see how the visitors manage that this weekend.

"If he [Lambie] is not available it is not all doom and gloom, but if he is is I think it is a great boost for us as a team. I looked with interest at the Highlanders, they didn't play Sopoaga they played a new ten and dropped Sopoaga but I have got no doubt Sopoaga will be back next week.

"They are in the same dilemma - should they play Sopoaga who hasn't played for a couple of weeks or play the guy who played this weekend?" White questioned.

The Sharks boss also hopes to have the services of experienced prop Tendai Mtawarira and scrumhalf Cobus Reinach who was rested against the Stormers as a precaution for a hamstring injury.

JP Pietersen is also expected to recover quickly from the concussion he suffered by clattering into Duane Vermeulen.

"He failed his concussion test which is a concern but if he passes all his checks and balances then he will be available for next week," said White.

The Sharks will be hoping that the momentum they picked up in a morale-boosting win over the Stormers at Newlands on Saturday coupled with the return of some key players will be enough to see off the challenge of a Highlanders side that has already won once at Kings Park this season.

Whilst some may see rushing Lambie back into the starting line-up as a risky option, White has chosen to back the pivot to produce the goods under pressure straight away which will give him plenty of confidence.

By Michael de Vries

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Pool AU
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Rebels 4 3 0 1 15
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Reds 3 2 0 1 8
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Sunwolves 4 0 0 4 2
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Highlanders 3 3 0 0 13
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Chiefs 3 2 0 1 8
Blues 4 1 0 3 6
Pool SA
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 5 4 0 1 19
Stormers 5 2 0 3 9
Sharks 4 1 1 4 9
Bulls 4 1 0 3 5
Jaguares 4 1 0 3 4