Decision to be made on Lambie
Gavin Rich - SuperSport
Johannesburg - Springbok Patrick Lambie will almost certainly be back in the Cell C Sharks No 10 jersey when the Vodacom Super Rugby knock-outs arrive at the end of this month, but it is not yet clear whether he will be able to return for Saturday’s penultimate league fixture against the Toyota Cheetahs.
According to the supersport.com website, Lambie has been joined by lock Anton Bresler among the players who were out with long term injuries who have returned to training with the Sharks during the June international window.
Bresler has missed most of the season after sustaining a shoulder injury in the early part of the year, but was back playing club rugby last weekend and is ready for selection.
His return will please coach/director of rugby Jake White, who has had to rely on a new look second row for most of the season due to the double injury blow to Bresler and up-and-coming Springbok Pieter-Steph du Toit.
As it has turned out, the locks who have played in the absence of the first choices have acquitted themselves well, with Stefan Lewies earning a deserved Bok cap against Scotland last weekend.
The increase in second row depth should hold the Sharks in good stead going forward, though White could face a tricky selection dilemma ahead of the Bloemfontein trip. It is likely that Bresler will play off the bench against the Cheetahs.
So might Lambie, although by all accounts that is touch and go at present, with a decision pending on the star flyhalf, who has been out for three months after tearing a bicep in the Pretoria derby against the Sharks in late March.
“Pat still has to undergo tests to confirm when he will be available to play,” said White.
The big positive about a Lambie return will be that it will enable Frans Steyn to move from flyhalf back to inside centre.
That may well happen for the Bloemfontein trip regardless of whether Lambie is declared fit to play or not as Fred Zeilinga is also over his injury problems and proved his fitness by playing club rugby during the June window. He is likely to start at flyhalf in Bloemfontein.
The Sharks need to win their two remaining fixtures – they finish away against the Stormers on 12 July – to be sure of a place in the top two, which will mean they host a semi-final.
The Waratahs are now top of the log after last weekend’s catch-up round of fixtures involving the New Zealand and Australian teams that started the competition a week after the South Africans.