Massive blow to Sharks as Reinach out for eight weeks, Lambie for rest of season

2014-03-25 00:00

THE Sharks were dealt another severe blow yesterday when scans confirmed that flyhalf Pat Lambie will miss the rest of the Super Rugby season after suffering an injury in their loss to the Bulls on Saturday.

A scan also revealed that scrumhalf Cobus Reinach would be missing from action for eight weeks after he fractured his hand in the same match.

Both players were taken out of the game against the Bulls in the first seven minutes, and their injuries will be a massive blow for the Sharks as coach Jake White had continued to stress their importance from time to time.

Charl McLeod should be the player that comes in for Reinach at nine, while White has the option of using youngsters Fred Zeilinga and Tim Swiel in the number 10 jersey.

Swiel made his debut against the Bulls in Pretoria last week and has been touted as a bright prospect for the game.

Zeilinga, who had an impressive debut season for the Sharks last year, looks to be the player that will fill in the huge boots left by Lambie.

Sharks fullback SP Marais felt the depth they have at flyhalf would surprise a lot of people.

“We have flyhalves in Tim Swiel and Fred Zeilinga, who was nominated and won the Vodacom Cup Player of the Year last year. He was also nominated for the Currie Cup award,” Marais said yesterday.

“I think we’re not too concerned about that. We’re all professional athletes here and we all need to slot in when it matters,” he said.

Although he admitted that it was unfortunate to lose players such as Lambie and Reinach, he felt it presented an opportunity to others in the squad to put their hand up and get a chance in White’s squad.

Asked if he would be an option to fill in at number 10, he reiterated that there was enough depth in the squad.

“We’ll have to wait and see what the plan is through the week. Luckily, as I have said, we have enough depth at flyhalf and at nine, so I think it’s not a concern for me at the moment,” said the former Southern Kings fullback who last played as a number 10 in his junior years.

This weekend, the Sharks face the Waratahs in what Marais described as what could be a “Titanic battle”.

“They’ve got a very good attacking game plan, and I think they also have a good balance of when to kick and when not to kick so it’s going to be quite an interesting challenge for us, especially to stop them running around us as they’ve done to other teams,” Marais said.

“They’re a different beast and you have to fight a different beast with different methods. We’ll go through our video analysis this week and we’ll sum it up and get the right methods to beat them.”

The Waratahs were dealt a blow of their own yesterday when it was reported that star wing Israel Folau — the competition’s top try scorer with eight tries — would miss the match due to swelling in his throat. The ‘Tahs are currently second to the Brumbies in the Australian Conference, and their game in Durban against the Sharks will be their first of a two-game tour of South Africa in which they also head to Cape Town to take on the Stormers.

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