Lambie return boost for Sharks


Lambie, the appointed captain for the season, injured shoulder ligaments in the pre-season tour to France and has not played since, but he says he is “fit and hungry to play just as soon as selected.”

But he worries that the next fortnight of matches against the Hurricanes and Jaguares (away) could be make or break for his team’s title ambitions.

The World Cup Springbok is likely to make a second-half appearance (for Garth April) this week in his first action since the World Cup in England last year, barring his 20 minutes against Toulon.

Even then, the 25-year-old did not play much for the Boks in England after Handre Pollard was preferred at 10 following the opening round loss to Japan in Brighton. Lambie was one of the scapegoats of the seismic shock of the defeat to the Brave Blossoms.

This year at the Sharks, Director of Rugby Gary Gold had no hesitation in making Lambie his captain and flyhalf general for a Super Rugby season that could only go better than that of 2015.

The composed Lambie is the antithesis of the hot-headed Bismarck du Plessis, who started out as Super Rugby captain last year, though, Lambie did not play that much under the fiery hooker because of a neck injury suffered early in the campaign.

Du Plessis has moved on to Montpellier but for Lambie it has been a déjà vu season.

“It was extremely disappointing to yet again suffer injury early in the season (the year before he injured his bicep) but the rehab has been done and I am 100 percent ready to play,” Lambie said from Durban yesterday.

“I have been taking contact for the last two weeks in training against the Currie Cup team and before that was doing everything but take contact. So I am in the starting blocks.”

While he has been convalescing over the 10 rounds of the competition to date, Lambie would have seen Joe Pietersen do a holding job at 10 and then, over the last fortnight, Garth April play enterprisingly against the Highlanders and the Chiefs.

The Sharks beat the Dunedin team and then almost beat the Chiefs.

April is likely to start against the Hurricanes on Saturday, with Lambie playing off the bench.

“I cannot comment on my role this week, if indeed I do play,” the ever humble Lambie said. “But it is fair to say that we have a crucial fortnight in front of us. We have a vital home game against the Hurricanes, and we need to win that, just as we need to win next week’s match against the Jaguares in Buenos Aires.”

The Sharks then have a home match against the Kings, where they would expect to bank maximum points, before entering their second bye, the weekend of 27-29 May, which follows into the June break for the Springboks’ international series against Ireland.

“I feel the Sharks come home from tour with everything to play for regarding the competition,” Lambie said.

“There was a difficult time before the guys went away (homes losses to the Crusaders and the Lions), but they have done themselves proud and got themselves into a position where we are right back in it. But like I say, this next fortnight against the Hurricanes and Jaguares is just about make or break.”

Lambie said that despite the narrow loss to the Chiefs on Friday (24-22), his team-mates ould be in good spirits.

“There was just the one win but there were three decent performances, and after the team left following the loss to the Lions, there was a lot of doom and gloom.

“That is not the case now. New Zealand is the toughest place on earth to tour and the guys have come back with their heads held high. They will feel that anything is possible from here.”

– Sunday Tribune

Original source: Lambie return boost for Sharks