Johannesburg - The Sharks have listed the injury that has ruled Patrick Lambie out of Saturday’s crucial Vodacom Super Rugby clash with the Brumbies as dental, thus allaying fears circulating in Durban that the star flyhalf might have suffered a broken jaw.
Lambie makes no appearance in the Sharks match 22 that was announced on Wednesday evening South African time, with Frederic Michalak taking the No 10 jersey for the first time this season in a team that also includes the return of JP Pietersen at outside centre and Steven Sykes as the starting lock.
With Jean Deysel also back among the reserves for the first time in ages at Super Rugby level, the Sharks have reason to feel aggrieved at the rugby gods for decreeing that now they should be playing without Lambie, who was in excellent form in the match against the Waratahs last weekend.
Outside of Lambie’s absence, the Sharks are slowly starting to head back to full strength, with Beast Mtawarira the only player still out long term. He is expected back after the halfway point of the campaign.
Players who should return to the squad in the next month include eighthman Ryan Kankowski and locks Ross Skeate and Alistair Hargreaves.
In the short-term Lambie’s absence against the Brumbies will be felt as the Australian outfit have become a lot more physical since Jake White took over as coach and Lambie normally looks a better bet than Michalak in physical games.
With Lambie’s injury supposedly not too serious, however, perhaps the chance to see Michalak run at flyhalf again isn’t a bad thing as you never know when he might be needed later in the competition.
Riaan Viljoen, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 JP Pietersen, 12 Tim Whitehead, 11
Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Frederic Michalak, 9 Charl McLeod, 8 Keegan Daniel
(captain), 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Jandre Marais, 4
Steven Sykes, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 2 Dale
Substitutes: 16 Craig Burden, 17 Wiehahn Herbst, 18
Anton Bresler, 19 Jean Deysel, 20 Jacques Botes, 21 Meyer Bosman, 22