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Lambie could return for Sharks before play offs

Patrick Lambie could be back for the last two Sharks regular season matches

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Article Published: Tuesday 22 April 2014|

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The Sharks could be given a boost for the final stages of their Super Rugby campaign as Patrick Lambie could return before the play offs.

The Sharks lead the South African Super Rugby Conference and unless they spectacularly implode on tour they are expected to finish the regular season as the leading South African team which gaurantees them a place in the play offs.

Lambie suffered a torn bicep in the sixth round clash between the Bulls and the Sharks in Pretoria and was expected to miss the rest of the Super Rugby season.

Sharks coach Jake White has now revealed that the Durban-based Super Rugby franchise could get Lambie back for their penultimate regular season match against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.

The Sharks finish their regular season with a match in Cape Town against the Stormers.

"We could have four or five games with Patrick back (depending on how the Sharks fare in the play-offs), so that is good news indeed," White told The Star.

"It was a massive loss when he got injured so early in the season because so much of our game plan was invested in him making the calls, and that was going to be a big help with there being a new captain (in Bismarck du Plessis)."

The Sharks have been hit by injury in recent weeks as wing JP Pietersen, wing Tonderai Chavhanga, flyhalf Fred Zeilinga and centre Paul Jordaan are all unlikely to play this week ahead of their tour which starts when they leave for Melbourne on Saturday.

There was an injury concern over Frans Steyn last week after he appeared to grimace in pain when kicking against the Cheetahs but White says the player is fine.

"He will grimace every week! He is fine," White smiled.

"He needs a break but he will be fine for this week, especially when we have a lot of guys that are 50-50. "

"Frans understands that he has to bide his time until we get guys back. Frans is very important to the team, especially with a new 10 (in Swiel). He knows that."

Former Springbok Chavhanga has to come off early against the Cheetahs and White said it was lucky that he came off straight away which limited the damage.

"Luckily he came off immediately he felt it and did not make it worse," White said.

"Hopefully it will be only two to three weeks (hamstring injuries can be double that)."

White admitted that the Sharks flyhalf problem has not been easy to handle after injuries to Lambie and then Zeilinga.

"It has been a difficult one," White said.

"Tim has done alright for a 20-year-old coming in and having to take a step up. Do you change it again? We brought Tim here (from Western Province Under-21s) and we must back him. "

"We have invested almost two games in him now (if you include the 70 minutes he played against the Bulls). He is getting the feeling of what it is like to play Super Rugby. He has got something… he is not your average player."

Even though White said that he can see the players are feeling the strain of the Super Rugby season at the half way point he will resist rotation this week due to the importance of leaving for their tour whilst still on a winning streak.

"It feels like it is a good time to give guys a breather but I am not sure it is the right time," he said.

"We have a short week, a five-day turnaround from the Cheetahs match, so to make five or six changes because the players need it physically could be the wrong thing because it will disrupt our rhythm.

"It is a home game, and a game against a team fresh after their bye. It is so important to get on the plane on a winning note."

"So I am not sure it is the right time to rest," White said.

 
 
 
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