Lambie faces tough challenge
Patrick Lambie (Gallo Images)
Cape Town – Patrick Lambie is facing his toughest Currie Cup challenge to date when the Sharks square up against Western Province on Saturday.
While WP have been singing the praises of the Sharks’ teenage flyhalf sensation, it remains to be seen whether Willem de Waal is equally impressed.
It’s not a matter of De Waal possessing the same natural talent as Lambie, but his 88% success ratio with his kicks at posts make him as valuable for obvious reasons.
Lambie mostly handles the Sharks’ goalkicking and his 25 out of 37 gives him a slightly more humble success ratio of 68%.
If the match is a thriller – which is often the case when the two top teams in a competition meet – it may well be De Waal’s praises that are sung after the weekend.
It should be added that Lambie has slotted 14 of his last 17 kicks at posts for a success ratio of 82% in the Sharks’ last two games. Sharks coach John Plumtree is therefore unlikely to have sleepless nights about the issue.
Province have also taken note of Lambie’s talent.
“He’s a quality player and any player that appears to have so much time is special,” said WP backline coach Robbie Fleck.
“His decision-making is very good and he will still develop physically. He’s a very promising player and gives the Sharks direction.”
Fleck expects WP and the Sharks’ contrasting styles to lead to tries. Last week’s physical clash against the Bulls did not deliver any tries, though WP’s fans won’t be complaining too much after their team won 15-12.
“The Bulls are very structured, while the Sharks have the ability to rip you apart by keeping the ball alive,” said Fleck.
Meanwhile, exciting under-21 wing JJ Engelbrecht trained in place of the injured Fabian Juries on Saturday and is likely to be in WP’s starting line-up on Saturday. He has played as a substitute for the senior team this year.