Lambie blow for Sharks
The Sharks’ chances of winning their crunch Super Rugby derby against the Bulls have suffered a mortal blow with the confirmation that star backline player Patrick Lambie is unlikely to line up for the match.
Lambie sprained an ankle in the second test between the Springboks and England a few weeks ago. It was initially thought that he would be the one player among a clutch of injured Sharks who would be fit to play the Bulls, but the news from the Sharks camp as Friday night’s game nears is not good.
“Pat is struggling. He is running straight with no pain but he is battling to move laterally,” said coach John Plumtree.
The Sharks have given Lambie until Wednesday to prove his fitness but the word from the camp is that he almost certainly won’t be wearing the No 15 at Mr Price Kings Park. And neither will lock Steven Sykes or flank Willem Alberts.
Sykes underwent a scope on his knee after the Lions game four weeks ago and is expected to be out for a while. Alberts sprained his knee scoring the first try in the Springbok win over England at Coca-Cola Park.
“They are all struggling and extremely doubtful,” said Plumtree.
Louis Ludik will line up at fullback if Lambie is not available, with Tim Whitehead shifting to outside centre to accommodate Frans Steyn in the No 12 jersey. Jean Deysel is the logical replacement for Alberts at No 7, while the Sharks have three locks to choose from -- Anton Bresler, Juandre Marais and Pieter-Steph du Toit.
It’s not an ideal situation for them to be in though as they go into a game they have to win if they are to stand any chance of qualifying for a place in the top six, which would enable them to participate in the extended playoff rounds.