Boks, Sharks in Lam­bie tug-of-war

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport Starts Here -

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.

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