The Sharks have been copping plenty of flak from disgruntled fans in the wake of their 50-point loss to the Crusaders last week and the last thing the coaching staff needed was an injury to a key player.
Lambie, the stand-in captain for suspended Bismarck du Plessis, left the field after taking a heavy hit from a Crusaders defender.
The good news is that the injury will not require surgery, and the 24-year-old should make a full recovery before the international season. Lambie is not having much luck in Super Rugby – he missed most of the 2014 competition because of a torn bicep.
Jean Deysel is another casualty from the Crusaders game although of an entirely different nature. The burly flank pleaded guilty to kneeing the head of Crusaders flank Matt Todd and is expected to get a ban of five to six weeks, according to Sharks coach Gary Gold. Sanzar have not yet released their official finding.
“When it rains it pours!” a frustrated Gold said yesterday. “It is a big blow to lose a player of Pat’s calibre. He has been a stand-out player this season and is a big part of our leadership group. He is a very respected player in the squad.”
Fred Zeilinga will come in for Lambie for this weekend’s visit to the Lions, and Lionel Cronjé will be promoted to the bench. Zeilinga had a good cameo when he replaced Lambie against the Crusaders, especially considering he has had little game time this year. Zeilinga has a big boot and is a pin-point goal-kicker.
Lambie and Deysel join three other Springboks on the sidelines in Du Plessis, Pieter-Steph du Toit and Frans Steyn.
“It is a challenging week for us,” Gold said with understatement. “It is an emotional time. People point at the scoreboard. That is how it should be. But I honestly feel this adversity gives us a real opportunity for growth. The competition is at the halfway mark. There is still a lot of rugby to be played.”
Gold said that preparation this week would be about reflecting on what has worked for the Sharks in their brighter periods of play this season and ditching the rest. “When you lose you scrutinise your game,” he said. “You do a lot more reflection than when you win. You look at your positives, you go right back to basics and you shed everything else. You don’t panic.”
And you don’t get any more red cards ...
“Obviously we have spoken about discipline. Everybody is talking about it, but I don’t think it is an epidemic,” Gold said. “I don’t see it that way because I view each incident in isolation. Frans Steyn did not have any malice in his tackle. The TMO at the time said yellow card.
“The debate is still up in the air. Sanzar decided they wanted to make a point about the tip tackle, well that is not malice on Frans’ behalf.
“The other two incidents were just silly. I am not going to defend them. “If the (Deysel) knee was to the buttock and not the head, it would have been a yellow card, if Bismarck had kicked the guy in the leg and not the head, it would have been a yellow.
“But I get the point that it looks like there is a problem, and it has been addressed.” - The Star
Original source: Sharks suffer Lambie blow