Coetzee fit for action, but Lambie to wait a month

2014-05-29 00:00

SHARKS flyhalf Patrick Lambie is expected to return to duty in just over a month, director of rugby Jake White revealed yesterday, while flanker Marcell Coetzee is fit for duty and should be part of the team to play the Stormers when it is announced today.

The Super Rugby leaders take on the Cape Town franchise at King’s Park on Saturday in their first match since returning from a successful overseas tour during which they won three out of four games.

Lambie played no part in those games after being sidelined since week five with a bicep injury.

At the time, which was late March, it was announced by the union that he would be out for approximately six months, but he will now be back in just over half of that time, according to White.

“Pat will be ready in all likelihood when we get back for the next two rounds after the June break,” the Sharks boss said yesterday.

“He hasn’t done any contact and he hasn’t done any team stuff yet. But the sort of planning will come at the end of June, then he’ll start fitting into the team and hopefully by that first weekend in July against the Cheetahs, he should be available to be selected, which is obviously pleasing.”

It will be a massive boost for the Sharks, although they have coped well without the versatile 23-year-old.

The Michaelhouse old boy has himself remained coy about an early return from an injury he sustained just six minutes into the 23-19 loss to the Bulls in Pretoria.

“Hopefully, I’ll get another chance in Super Rugby this year — if not, then the goal is for Currie Cup,” he said. “My rehab is going well, and I’m kept busy at the stadium with all the physio and gym work. So thus far it’s been good.”

However, Frans Steyn has been an apt replacement until now, with the Springbok back playing a vital role in the Sharks’ bid for a first ever Super Rugby title.

The stand-in number 10 crossed the 100-point mark for the season in the last game against the Blues, as the Sharks won 29-23 to consolidate their position at the summit.

Lambie felt that Steyn’s displays were admirable and one of the key reasons why the team had been doing so well.

“I’m very chuffed for Frans, he’s been shuffled around back and forth between flyhalf and centre,” he said.

“But he’s really played some quality rugby this year at flyhalf.

“He’s kicked beautifully and the confidence he gives the group in that pivot role speaks for itself. So I’m very pleased for him.”

Meanwhile, White revealed that Coet­zee “was ready to go” after his shoulder injury, which saw him leave the Australasia tour after the opening game, which they won against the Rebels. The loose forward, one of the stand-out players in Super Rugby this term, was among 10 players who were part of a Springbok training camp in Durban earlier in the week.

There were injury doubts over three other players who were part of that group, Willem Alberts, S’bura Sithole (both hamstring) and Steyn (knee), but White confirmed they will all be fit.

“Both are grade one and with treatment they should be available this weekend,” White added. “The thing with Frans Steyn is he needs to be managed on a Monday and a Tuesday.

“It’s still early days, but I’m just glad they gave him this time off because as you know, he’s played literally every game for us, almost every minute.

“So for him to get a bit of a gap this week is pleasing.”

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