Gold clears air on Lambie confusion
Cape Town - It seems like every time Sharks coach Gary Gold sits down in front of media these days, the first thing he is asked for is an update on Patrick Lambie.
That is how instrumental the flyhalf is considered to be to his side's Super Rugby ambitions.
As it turns out, Lambie will not be on Tuesday's flight to Wellington where a quarter-final against the Hurricanes awaits this weekend.
The 25-year-old is still showing symptoms of concussion following the monster hit he received from CJ Stander in the Test between the Springboks and Ireland back on June 11.
But, that injury aside, confusion arose when reports surfaced that Lambie would in fact be ineligible to take part in the playoffs anyway due to the fact that he has only played three regular season matches for the Sharks so far in 2016.
Why, then, are the Stormers able to field a player like Robert du Preez this weekend when he has featured just twice this season?
Well, at the start of the campaign all franchises were made to submit a squad of 40 names.
And, at that time, Lambie was out injured with a shoulder injury he picked up on a pre-season tour of France.
That meant that, upon his return to the squad, Lambie would have to play a minimum of four matches to be considered for the playoffs.
Du Preez, for example, was in the Stormers' original squad and then got injured, meaning that he did not have to worry about the four game rule.
Gold, frustrated with the way that the Lambie dilemma had been covered by some local media, tried to explain the issue in detail on Monday.
"The situation is two-fold ... see it as two completely different things," said Gold.
"The first thing is about Patrick's injury ... and his return to play and the protocol surrounding that. Patrick has to be symptom free to start his exercise, and then he gets exercise-induced symptoms or he's symptom-free, and from there you can clear him. That hasn't happened yet.
"To be proactive, hoping that he was going to be symptom-free and that we could start the process, I had to make an application for dispensation last week which was turned down because we've got cover in the squad and SANZAAR turned us down.
"Every single day it changes and then we have to do a reassessment and then we have to make a decision. However, the problem is that we're now five or six weeks down the track so now Patrick's done no exercise so now we've got a third complication in that he has done no training as well."
Gold added that, should the Sharks reach the semi-finals and should Lambie stop showing worrying symptoms, he would follow the same process with SANZAAR in an attempt to have his captain back for the semi-finals.