Still no Lambie for Stormers, but he’ll be ready for play-offs

2014-07-11 00:00

THERE was still no Patrick Lambie as the Sharks unveiled their starting XV to face the Stormers tomorrow, but director of rugby Jake White announced that his prized flyhalf will be ready for the play-offs in the weeks ahead.

White made a total of five changes for the Super Rugby clash at Newlands in what was possibly his strong­est available line-up.

After the loss to the Cheetahs last week, Springbok trio of Bismarck and Jannie du Plessis and Willem Alberts returned, while there was a starting debut for teenager Thomas du Toit following his impressive cameo off the bench in Bloemfontein.

In the only personnel change amongst the backline, Paul Jordaan returned from injury to take his place in midfield, with Frans Steyn moving to the number 10 jersey to accommodate him.

The five players to miss out were front row trio of Dale Chadwick, Lourens Adriaanse and Kyle Cooper, along with Jean Deysel and Tim Swiel, after he again failed to grab his chance in the Free State.

Like Lambie, Tendai Mtawarira and Tera Mtembu were not considered due to injuries.

“It’s not quite our strongest team, obviously Pat Lambie is still not available, but he should be back next week,” White confirmed. “Beast is another player not ready yet, but I think he could be by next week. Tera isn’t 100% either. So there are a few niggles and a couple of bumps and bruises.

“If we’re looking at playing next week, the following week and the one after, and this is not getting ahead of ourselves, we’ve got to make sure we have a full bill of health. There’s no doubt we’re going to need all our players available for the next month.”

Loosehead prop Du Toit has enjoyed a sharp rise in recent months. He started out this year at the Sharks Academy, before being elevated to the Sharks XV in the Vodacom Cup.

It appeared it was there that he caught the eyes of the national selectors, who included him in the Under-20 Springbok squad for the IRB Junior World Championship in New Zealand, where he featured prominently as South Africa lost to England in the final.

“I was very happy with Thomas last week,” White said. “It was his first game. He’s just a 19-year-old prop, but it was obviously massive for him and he scrummed against a Springbok front row.

“What he did in the short time he had on the field, I thought was outstanding. I’m sure he enjoyed it, which is nice, but I think he would have enjoyed it more if we’d won.”

White also explained that his decision to go back to Steyn at flyhalf was because they wanted to revert to what had worked for them earlier in the competition.

White said: “Frans and Paul Jordaan have been a good combination when they played together against the Crusaders and against the Blues before Paul got injured. It’s just going back to what’s worked for us in the big games.”

It was also a decision based on the return to fitness once again of Fred Zeilinga, who is on the bench after an injury-hit year.

In another positional switch, White swapped JP Pietersen and S’bura Sithole around — the veteran Springbok moving from wing to midfield.

“The thinking there is JP was man of the-match in a Test match two weeks ago at outside centre,” White added. “He’s probably got comfortable there, he played there with Frans Steyn in that first World XV game as a centre partner and I thought it much easier for him to stay there now.”

The Sharks: S.P. Marais, S’bura Sithole, JP Pietersen, Paul Jordaan, Lwazi Mvovo, Frans Steyn, Cobus Reinach, Ryan Kankowski, Willem Alberts, Marcell Coetzee, Anton Bresler, Stephan Lewies, Jannie du Plessis, Bismarck du Plessis, Thomas du Toit. Replacements: Kyle Cooper, Wiehahn Herbst, Lourens Adriaanse, Etienne Oosthuizen, Jean Deysel, Charl McLeod, Fred Zeilinga, Tonderai Chavhanga.

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