Boks, Sharks in Lambie tug-of-war
THE Sharks could have a tug-of-war on their hands with the Springboks over the services of Pat Lambie when the Rugby Championship resumes next weekend.
Lambie made his return to the field for the Sharks in their Currie Cup game against the EP Kings after three months out with a concussion he suffered while playing for the Boks against Ireland in June.
Great uncertainty surrounded Lambie’s health because he took so long to recover from that knock, but now that he is fit again Allister Coetzee will be desperate to involve him in the home leg of the Rugby Championship where South Africa face New Zealand and Australia.
Coetzee’s eagerness to pick Lambie will be intensified after another inept performance by incumbent flyhalf Elton Jantjies who’s time in the number 10 jersey is surely up.
However, Sharks coach Robert du Preez plans to meet with Coetzee in the coming week to discuss Lambie’s availability to both the Boks and the Sharks.
The problem is the Sharks as well as the Springboks have a bye this weekend, which means Lambie won’t be able to get more game time before potentially being recalled to the Springbok setup. The headache for Du Preez is the Sharks play the Lions next Friday evening in a fixture which could decide whether they have a home semi-final or not.
Du Preez would ideally want to pick his best team for that clash which would include a fit Lambie, while Coetzee might be just as eager to play Lambie against Australia on the following day.
“We’ll talk to the South African Rugby Union (SARU) and Allister to hear what he has planned. The game against the Lions is a massive one for us and we will definitely have to pick our best team,” Du Preez told Netwerk24.
Meanwhile, The Stormers face a daunting schedule in next year’s Super Rugby after the 2017 fixtures were released yesterday.
Having played the five Australian teams in 2016, the Stormers, who topped the Africa 1 Conference this season, will now face the might of the five New Zealand franchises next season.
The Stormers will play the Bulls at Newlands on Saturday, February 25 in their opening fixture and will conclude their campaign against the same opponents at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday, July 15.
In between those matches, the Stormers face a proverbial tour from hell, with matches against the Crusaders, Highlanders and defending champion Hurricanes on consecutive weekends in New Zealand.— Sport24.