Sharks inspired by Lambie
Patrick Lambie (Gallo Images)
Durban - Sharks coach Brad Macleod-Henderson has highlighted the short 10-minute spell before half-time as crucial to helping them recover from a sluggish start to beat Free State Cheetahs in the Currie Cup semi-final in Durban on Saturday.
Springbok back Patrick Lambie, who scored 23 points in total, was key during that period when he went over for a clever individual try and slotted over a conversion and two penalties.
"That (spell before half time) was crucial or us," Macleod-Henderson said after the match.
"Before that I don't think we particularly played our best rugby and that was the kick-start we needed to move forward, go on and get the result."
Lambie's try was one of three for his side, adding to scores by Jacques Botes and Heimar Williams, as the Sharks ensured a repeat of last year's final against Western Province, although Cape Town will play host in 2013.
The home flyhalf, who has spent a large part of the past four months on the Springbok sidelines, was left on the bench last week, before being promoted to the starting XV this week.
"Pat was man-of-the-match and it was another fantastic display from him," the Sharks coach said.
"His try at the end of the first half really got us going.
"But it just shows what a quality player Pat was tonight to guide us around the field and produce a performance like he did."
Their opponents from Bloemfontein had started out far stronger with Lappies Labuschagne, one of three try scorers alongside Johann Sadie and Schalk van der Merwe, going over after three minutes.
But they failed to take more of their chances and were punished by the clinical hosts.
"We knew it was going to be a tough game," said Macleod-Henderson.
"We maybe started the game a bit flat, but by the end of the first half there we kicked in.
"In the second half I think we played some nice stuff, so I'm very happy with the win.
"We've just had a quick chat about the result, and going to Newlands is a daunting task, but we're looking forward to it.
"They're a quality outfit, they're unbeaten in the Currie Cup so far, so we'll have to be on top of our game to win there."
Cheetahs coach Naka Drotske agreed that the moments before the half-time interval were game-changing.
"We were in the game for the first 35 minutes and then a few soft moments, loss of concentration in the last few minutes before half-time, cost us 10 points and it's always tough to come back from that.
"I think the Sharks used their opportunities better.
"We had our chances in the first half but didn’t take them.
"There were one or two tries that we should have scored.
"There was some wrong decision making under pressure and that was crucial.
"So it's a disappointing end for us."