Double injury blow for Sharks
Double injury blow for SharksSHARE
The Sharks are counting the cost of their trip to Pretoria at the weekend, which resulted in a 19-23 loss to the Bulls.
However, the real cost comes in the form of injuries, not the lost points on the table.
Sharks coach Jake White is sweating over two key players – Springbok Patrick Lambie (the flyhalf suffered a bicep injury) and scrumhalf Cobus Reinach (hand fracture) – who could both be sidelined for six weeks.
Lambie injured his arm in the opening minutes of the Loftus Versfeld showdown, when his outstretched arm was over-extended in a weak tackle and he damaged the bicep.
Lambie is believed to have torn his bicep and it will only be known after scans exactly how long he will be sidelined for.
The Sharks pivot will undergo tests and scans on Monday to confirm the severity of the injury.
White will also have to call up a new scrumhalf, after Reinach fractured his hand – also inside the opening 10 minutes.
White has acknowledged that losing the key pair so early in the game seriously disrupted the Sharks' plans, with the starting halfbacks key to the sort of game that the Durban side wanted to play.
"If you lose your No.9 and No.10 literally in the first seven minutes of the game it is always going to be tough but we aren't to make any excuses," White said.
"We had lots of plans that centred around Pat [Lambie] and it was very disruptive," he added.
Replacements Charl McLeod and Tim Swiel are obviously in the running to start against the Waratahs when the Sharks return to Durban this coming Saturday.
McLeod is an old hand and will play a key role going forward.
White has a few options when it comes to replacing Lambie.
He used Frans Steyn a couple of weeks ago when Lambie fell ill shortly before the match against the Reds, while Swiel did an admirable job at Loftus.
Then there is also Fred Zeilinga.