Sharks count injury cost

Sharks flyhalf and captain Pat Lambie is set to miss the start of the Super Rugby season after suffering a shoulder injury in last Friday’s warm-up match against Toulon, writes CRAIG LEWIS.

The AC joint injury, believed to be a grade three, is expected to sideline Lambie for at least eight weeks. He will consult a specialist to determine the best possible treatment and whether that might involve surgery.

Flanker Francois Kleinhans, and locks Ruan Botha and Giant Mtyanda, also all picked up injuries that are set to rule them out of action for varying lengths of time, which are still to be confirmed.

While the Sharks are blessed with depth in the loose forward department, they will be concerned with the injuries to two of their locks, with the second row being an area where they are relatively short on experience.

In the absence of Lambie, the Sharks are likely to turn to Joe Pietersen to fulfil the flyhalf role until his return, while Marcell Coetzee is the designated vice-captain who would be expected to serve as the stand-in skipper.

Although last Friday’s victory over Toulon came at a cost, the Sharks produced an encouraging performance in claiming a 29-21 win, and coach Gary Gold said he had been pleased with the performance.

‘I was particularly happy with our composure and the ability to score as many tries as we did [five]. There are a couple of areas we still need to work on, but I think by and large we came through the exercise to measure our levels of fitness and physicality quite well, against a seasoned team, already halfway through their season.

‘I am happy with the intensity and attitude from the players, particularly shown in the last 10 to 15 minutes when we were under pressure,’ he added.

The Sharks will face Toulouse in a warm-up match on Thursday, which will serve as further preparation for their Super Rugby opener against the Southern Kings on 27 February.

Photo: Gerhard Durand/BackpagePix

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Craig Lewis