Sharks

Lambie could return for Sharks before play offs

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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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