Pat Lambie is one of a host of players to have signed new three-year deals with the Sharks that will keep them in Durban until the end of 2017.
Following the departure of Jake White as director of rugby, the Sharks have moved to commit some of their best young players to long-term deals, with Springbok flyhalf Lambie leading the way.
Youngsters like Thomas du Toit, André Esterhuizen, Cameron Wright, S’bura Sithole and Stephan Lewies have also signed contracts to remain in Durban for the next three years. Du Toit and Esterhuizen were involved in the Junior Springboks’ Junior World Championship campaign earlier this year, while Du Toit featured during the Sharks' Super Rugby campaign.
Lambie's decision will be greeted with a collective sigh of relief in Durban, where the former Michaelhouse boy has made quite a name for himself. Lambie starred in the Sharks' Currie Cup final win over Western Province in 2010, before being named SA Young Player of the Year the following season.
His participation in this year's Super Rugby tournament was cut short by a bicep injury, but he played a key role in the Springboks' defeat of Australia at the weekend, where he scored a try and a drop goal after replacing Handré Pollard with a quarter of the match remaining.
A number of Springboks are contracted with the Sharks until the conclusion of the World Cup next season, but CEO John Smit is hoping to open talks with these parties in the near future.
'We haven’t started further contract negotiations with such players just yet,' said Smit. 'Obviously a number of those individuals will be involved in the World Cup, but I’m hoping to begin talks early next year to discuss their playing future beyond 2015.
'We’re always looking to bolster our squad where necessary, but generally I think we have assembled a very strong squad.'
Players contracted until 2017 – Pat Lambie, Thomas du Toit, André Esterhuizen, Cameron Wright, S’bura Sithole, Stephan Lewies.
Players contracted until 2016 – Dale Chadwick, Matt Stevens, Monde Hadebe, Wiehan Hay, JC Astle, Khaya Majola, Conrad Hoffman, Heimar Williams, Lionel Cronjé, Paul Jordaan, Tyler Fisher, Tim Swiel.
Players contracted until 2015 – Tendai Mtawarira, Jannie du Plessis, Bismarck du Plessis, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Marcell Coetzee, Ryan Kankowski, Willem Alberts, Cobus Reinach, Frans Steyn, JP Pietersen, Lwazi Mvovo, Tera Mtembu, Lourens Adriaanse, Kyle Cooper, Marco Wentzel , Etienne Oosthuizen, Johan Meyer, Fred Zeilinga, Odwa Ndungane, SP Marais.
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