Kingpin role for Lambie

2013-02-02 00:00

THERE will be a change of playing style for Springbok flyhalf Pat Lambie when he turns out for the Sharks in the Super Rugby competition this year.

Morné Steyn’s loss of form and the injury to Johan Goosen opened the door for Lambie to play at flyhalf for the Springboks on their UK tour in November.

But coach John Plumtree says that Lambie, now the first-choice Sharks flyhalf following Freddie Michalak’s return to France, will be the hub of his team, dictating the flow of the game.

“It was good to see Pat play those Test matches, but I think it’s also important to understand that the Boks play a different style of rugby to us.

“The Boks play more off 9 (scrumhalf) and we generally play more of 10 (flyhalf), so he’ll have more responsibility.”

Plumtree emphasised that Lambie’s role for the Sharks — with backs and forwards running off him — would not be a new one.

“Pat started playing really well for us at flyhalf in last year’s Super Rugby competition before he was injured, and then obviously Fred [Michalak] took over.

“I think people forget that Pat picked up quite a few injuries last year, so he didn’t have a great season in Super Rugby from an injury perspective. But I hope the injuries stay away this season and he’ll be able to get a good run of games at flyhalf.”

Plumtree said he was pleased with the depth available to him in the midfield following the return to Durban of Frans Steyn and the form shown last year of Tim Whitehead, Meyer Bosman and Paul Jordaan.

“To have a big, physical player like Frans Steyn in the midfield is going to be great.

“He still has a little work to do on his fitness because he was out for three or four months with that ankle injury. But he’s getting there and we have some good options in the midfield.”

He is also satisfied with pack of forwards.

“We’re better organised than we’ve been ever before, but obviously the players still have to perform and they haven’t played for quite some time.

“Simulation at training is not quite the same thing as a match situation, and we have the two friendlies to work on any problems.”

Springbok number eight Ryan Kankowski is expected back from Japan late next week and he is likely to be given a run in the second pre-season friendly against the Pumas in Nelspruit on February 15.

The Sharks meet the Leopards in their first friendly next Friday night.

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