Pat Lambie is set to miss the Sharks’ clash against the Lions this Saturday, while Willie le Roux's Super Rugby season may be over. CRAIG LEWIS reports.
Lambie was knocked out cold when South African-born flanker CJ Stander collided with the flyhalf on 11 June, and it’s believed he is still showing adverse effects from the concussion.
The 25-year-old retained the Sharks No 10 jersey and leadership reins when he returned from a shoulder injury in May, and quickly rediscovered some impressive form, which subsequently saw him selected as the Boks’ starting flyhalf.
However, he was unable to feature in the final two Tests, and his experience, leadership and game management will now be sorely missed by the Sharks at Ellis Park this Saturday.
However, it will present another opportunity for talented Garth April, who impressed in Lambie’s absence earlier this season. April earned inclusion in the Bok squad for the June series against Ireland, but it was primarily to gain experience in the national set-up, with the flyhalf having last played for the SA A side on 10 June.
The Sharks’ injury concerns are also further exacerbated by the fact that the experienced Joe Pietersen, who filled in for Lambie at the start of the season, suffered a broken collar bone at the recent World Club 10s tournament. It remains to be seen who will provide flyhalf cover for the Sharks on Saturday.
In addition, although Le Roux would not have been available for this Saturday’s match due to a one-week suspension, it’s understood that he also suffered a shoulder injury in the final Test against Ireland.
Le Roux is expected to be out of action for four to six weeks, and depending on how far the Sharks progress, that may mean his involvement in Super Rugby is over for the season.
The Sharks may now need to turn to either Odwa Ndungane or Lwazi Mvovo to fulfill a role at fullback, while April could also play there once Lambie has returned to action.
It’s also believed that while there was a slight concern over a calf injury that JP Pietersen sustained while with the Boks, he is expected to recover in time to face the Lions.
The Johannesburg-based side currently have a seven-point lead over the Sharks at the top of the Africa 2 conference, and a win on Saturday would essentially open up an unassailable lead.
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