Sharks welcome flyhalf options

Gary Gold says the Sharks will face a healthy selection headache at flyhalf this week, writes CRAIG LEWIS.

Lambie made his long-awaited return from a shoulder injury when he replaced Garth April in the 53rd minute of the match against the Hurricanes last Saturday, and he promptly produced a clinical cameo.

After the match, Gold admitted that while it had been part of their predetermined plan to allow for Lambie to gain some much-needed game time, he also acknowledged that it had been difficult to bring April off after yet another impressive performance from the young pivot.

April has certainly looked the part since assuming the No 10 jersey over the last three weeks, with the 24-year-old clearly adding a new dimension to the Sharks’ play, which has coincided with the Durban-based side’s recent revival.

Although Lambie is likely to resume his role as the starting flyhalf against the Jaguares this Saturday, it’s not a selection decision that would have been as straightforward as many might have expected a few weeks ago.

‘It’s a blessing to have Pat back, injuries are always the bane of any coach's life,’ Gold commented prior to the team’s departure on Wednesday. ‘Pat is an incumbent Springbok, he’s vastly experienced and our captain. But it’s a [selection] headache in the sense that it's been so good to see a young guy [April] in such a rich vein of form and enjoying his rugby. To leave him out would be tough.

'Willie [le Roux] has played a lot of rugby though and Garth can help cover us there as well. At the end of the day, it’s healthy to have such options, and it gives us a sense of security with Pat, Joe [Pietersen] and Garth available, we know we have real strength in depth.’

Although Lambie seamlessly slotted back into action last weekend, he suggested his return had been made easier by the strong team performance.

‘The way we played made it much easier for me. I actually felt a bit rusty, that was my feeling, but I was also quite fortunate in that my rehab went smoothly. There wasn’t all that much I couldn’t do, apart from contact. I’ve been kicking, running and doing ball skills for six to eight weeks already.’

Lambie also praised the manner in which April had performed in his absence.

‘Garth has been outstanding, he’s had some great performances. He’s developed a lot of confidence around his teammates and I think he has a bright future here at the Sharks.’

Photo: Gehard Duraan/BackpagePix

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Craig Lewis