Vodacom Super Rugby
Gavin Rich - SuperSport
Sharks welcome Lambie return
Johannesburg - The Sharks started the build-up week to their comeback match after their first Super Rugby bye with the confidence booster of having Patrick Lambie back taking a full part in training on Monday.
Sharks coach John Plumtree always put Lambie's comeback from a hand injury as the match after the bye, and so it has proved, with Lambie almost certain to wear the No10 jersey against the Hurricanes at Mr Price Kings Park on Saturday.
Although the Sharks did not run in their anticipated team formation for the Hurricanes match, Lambie was in the thick of things and according to bystanders looked hungry to play.
"We have a full squad to choose from for this match with the exception of Alistair Hargreaves who remains out with a shoulder injury," said coach John Plumtree afterwards.
"Another exception is Jean Deysel. He is back playing for the Vodacom Cup team but he was out of rugby for almost a year and I want to ease him back into top rugby carefully. He has played a few games at Vodacom Cup level and I would like him to play a few more before he can be considered for Super Rugby.
"At the moment the intention is to bring Jean back after our next bye (in a couple of weeks)," added the coach.
Plumtree said his biggest concern for the Hurricanes game was that his team switches on again after their week off.
"We know what tends to happen after byes and I have addressed the team about it. I don't think it is a physical thing, it is a mental thing with players taking a while to ease their way back into the weekly match routine. So I have told the players I want them to flick their mental switch on with immediate effect.
"We are going into an important phase of the season and the guys must not waste time easing themselves back and switching back onto the week in and week out battle code."
The Sharks face an important derby against the South African pace-setting DHL Stormers the week after the Hurricanes game and Plumtree will want his team to go to Cape Town in the knowledge that a win at Newlands will cancel out the Cape team's lead at the top. That means a win, preferably with a bonus point, is an imperative for Saturday.