The Mercury

Kings deserved their victory over Sharks – Du Preez

- Mike Greenaway

THE news yesterday about Patrick Lambie’s latest injury was that “there is no news just yet” and an update will be released today after the usual scans and protocols have been followed when a player has had a blow to the head.

The luckless Lambie left the field 30 minutes into the Sharks’ match against the Kings in Port Elizabeth after a collision of heads with one of his own players, fullback Rhyno Smith, in what was a freak accident.

Lambie is a born fighter but this latest concussion will raise concerns about his future.

The Sharks lost the game 35-32 and coach Robert du Preez said after the match that it had been an unfortunat­e setback to lose his captain and flyhalf and he would await the developing news on Lambie from Singapore, where the Sharks will be this week preparing for Saturday’s match against Japan’s Sunwolves. They leave this morning.

“It was a great pity but we had a capable replacemen­t (Garth April), and that (the loss of Lambie) was not why we lost the game,” the dejected coach said. “We have no idea of the extent of Pat’s problem but obviously we are very concerned.

“Losing this game is very disappoint­ing but we can’t have any complaints, we were outscored by four tries to two tries and that sums it up,” Du Preez said. “We were under no illusions about how the Kings would come out against us. They have been playing really good rugby of late and we knew they were waiting for us.”

The Kings have now won three matches in a row and if they beat the Brumbies at Nelson Mandela bay Stadium on Saturday, it will make life even more uncomforta­ble for the suits in the Saru boardroom who are apparently set to axe the Kings and the Cheetahs in a revised Super Rugby competitio­n next year. It has already been decreed by Sanzaar that two SA teams and one Australian team will drop out in 2015.

There were 20 000 fans at the Stadium in Port Elizabeth and there will be doubtless be even more this week now that the Eastern Province region has something to cheer about after so much rugby depression .

“It is fantastic for the Kings, they have been playing good rugby all year and it is great for Port Elizabeth,” the gracious Du Preez said. “It is what we need in South Africa (a revival in the EP area), it is encouragin­g for the game in this country to have more competitiv­e teams playing well against teams like the Sharks.”

Du Preez said the key to the outcome of the match was the “passion” showed by the Kings.

“They kept going to the last minute and it paid off when we made a mistake in our 22 and allowed them the territory and possession to score the winning try,” Du Preez said. “Well done to them.”

Kings captain Lionel Cronje said that “character and spirit had got the team over the finish line in front”.

“It is special. It is not always talent that wins you games, it is the guts and the willingnes­s to do what it takes,” the flyhalf said. “The guys are superstoke­d. This has been a phenomenal day, we have fought so hard this season and were rewarded with back-to-back wins and then the goal was to beat a South African team for the first time in our history. The buzz in the Stadium carried us through.”

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