Lambie return gives Gold headache
Cape Town - Patrick Lambie's return is likely to see in-form Sharks flyhalf Garth April shifted to the bench for Saturday's Super Rugby clash against the Jaguares in Buenos Aires.
Lambie made his first appearance of the season in Saturday's 32-15 win over the Hurricanes in Durban after recovering from a shoulder injury, replacing April with a little less than half an hour remaining.
Having been named Sharks captain at the beginning the season and with just two Super Rugby matches left for the Durban franchise before the Springbok squad for the June Tests against Ireland is announced, it is hard to see Lambie missing out on an opportunity to start this weekend.
Coach Gary Gold would not confirm as much, but the way he was speaking on Tuesday suggested that April might have to be content with a place among the substitutes.
wouldn’t say it’s a relief. It’s a bit of a blessing from an injury point of
view," Gold said of Lambie's return.
"You always love your best 15 to play and Pat is an incumbent Springbok
with a huge amount of experience and he’s the captain.
"It’s a wonderful
situation to have but it’s a headache for me.
"It’s a headache to see a young
guy in such a rich vein of form and then you have to leave him out. You just
hope he stays positive."
But April is not limited to wearing the No 10 jersey, and Gold views him as an option at fullback as well.
"Willie (Le Roux) has also played a lot of rugby and Garth can
cover 15 as well," said Gold.
"It’s just important that the guys who are involved stay
positive and contribute when they come on.
"It’s wonderful to have Pat back. It
also gives you a sense of security to know that with Pat and Garth and Joe (Pietersen), you
have the depth."
With April having started the last three matches for the Sharks and having taken his chances with open arms, the option of Lambie slotting in at No 12 began to gather some momentum.
Gold said that was something that he and the management team had considered, but it was unlikely to materialise.
"There is thought about that, but then I don’t really share
the thoughts of many of you journalists that there’s anything wrong with Andre
Esterhuizen," Gold said.
"If you go and study Andre’s game a little closely you’ll see.
"Pat is a 10. I’ve never been a big fan of chopping and
changing guys out of position. But Patrick does play that game that he can
offer us that versatility.
"Patrick wants to play 10 and that’s where he’s
The Sharks departed for Argentina on Wednesday morning and they are set to announce their squad for the Jaguares clash on Thursday.
Kick-off on Saturday is at 22:40.