Heinz Schenk
1 minute read
15 Jul 2014
2:00 pm

Pat Lambie could be big call for Jake

Heinz Schenk

Never averse to making a big call, Jake White could summon Pat Lambie straight back into the Sharks starting line-up for Saturday's Super Rugby play-off against the Highlanders at King's Park despite the flyhalf's complete lack of match fitness.

Pat Lambie of the Sharks breaks a tackle from Robert Ebersohn during the Absa Currie Cup semi final match between The Sharks and Toyota Free State Cheetahs at Growthpoint Kings Park on October 19, 2013 in Durban, South Africa. (Photo by Anesh Debiky/Gallo Images)

Lambie hasn’t played competitive rugby since March 22 when he injured his bicep against the Bulls at Loftus, yet given the momentum extracted from the weekend’s 34-10 win over the Stormers, the 23-year-old Springbok’s authority could be more readily accommodated.

“Pat has been training with us for the past couple of weeks and he is a very important member of the squad and will expect to play if he is passed fit to do so,” said White.

“You might say it would be a risk to bring him straight back into the side, but the one thing about him is that he seems to have that knack of coming back in important games and putting in a big performance.”

Even if it’s more symbolic than anything, the Sharks’ director of rugby is also more encouraged to follow that route because his opponents face a similar poser.

“The Highlanders haven’t played Lima Sopowaga, who has been their first-choice flyhalf, in the last few matches, so they are probably facing the same dilemma as we do. Do they play the guy who played last week, or do they bring their first choice back? Pat has been training and means a lot to the group,” he noted.

Further bolstering their cause is the availability of Beast Mtawarira and Cobus Reinach.

The previous argument that the Durbanites don’t mind the extra knockout fixture and then banking on their fine away record in this campaign for a potential semifinal with the Crusaders has also been proven on the mark.

“The nice thing is that if we beat the Highlanders we’ll only probably have to travel overseas once,” said White .

“There’s a chance of a Durban final if the Chiefs play their part, but that’s unlikely.”