Gold feels for 'exceptional' April
Cape Town - You have to feel a little for Garth April.
Having started the season as effectively the Sharks' third-choice flyhalf, the 24-year-old has taken his chances to move up the pecking order in Durban.
It hasn't taken long, either, with April having started just the last three matches for Durbanites.
He kicked all the points in a 15-14 win over the Highlanders in New Zealand, was impressive in a narrow 24-22 loss to the Chiefs and then sparked the Sharks attack into life against the Hurricanes in a 32-15 win at King's Park on Saturday.
Before that, April had played second fiddle to veteran Joe Pietersen, who was given the responsibility of wearing the No 10 jersey in the absence of injured captain and first-choice pivot Pat Lambie.
Now, just as April is starting to come into his own, Lambie is back.
Despite another hugely impressive display on Saturday, April lasted just 52 minutes against the Hurricanes before he was removed to accommodate Lambie's return.
"It was with a real heavy heart," Gold said of his decision to take April off.
"The predetermined plan was that we really hoped Garth was going to go well. I thought he was absolutely exceptional tonight.
"The plan was to give Patrick a decent enough run ... give him 30 minutes. We stuck to the plan but it was with a heavy heart for poor Garth, who kicked a great conversion and then had to come off."
Gold added that it was important to ensure that he had as many players fit and firing at any given time, especially with the travel demands that had been placed on his side in recent weeks.
"It's also about the maintenance of the players and having a plan because of our travel," he said.
"We've had to be very rigorous about our plan because of the amount of guys who have just come back from New Zealand and they're heading off West again (to take on the Jaguares this week).
"I think it's important ... there's a bigger picture here. We want to have faith in 28 or 29 guys and I'm very proud to say that every week that number goes up by a player ow two.
"You've got to keep the squad rotating and the plan was the plan."
Gold will have to make a difficult decision ahead of Saturday's clash against the Jaguares in Buenos Aires, but he was pleased with what he saw from Lambie against the Hurricanes.
"Luckily the standards didn't drop when Patrick came on," said Gold.
"I thought he was really good for a guy whose been out for as long as he has ... I thought he was really outstanding tonight."
Lambie has the clash against the Jaguares and then a fixture at home to the Kings a week later to prove his fitness to new Springbok coach Allister Coetzee ahead of the June Tests against Ireland.