Lambie ruled out for month

2011-03-23 00:00

THE Sharks have suffered a serious blow ahead of their historic Super Rugby game against the Crusaders in London, with 20-year-old flyhalf Pat Lambie ruled out for a month with a fractured finger.

Lambie broke the middle finger of his left hand during Friday’s outing against the Chiefs in Hamilton and the Sharks medical staff had hoped surgery could be delayed by a week or two.

But Sharks team doctor Ewoudt van der Linde told The Witness yesterday that the specialist wants to operate immediately and insert a pin in the finger.

“He’s going to have surgery tomorrow [today] and it will be about three weeks before the pin is taken out and he is ready to play again,” said Van der Linde.

Jacques-Louis Potgieter, former Cheetahs and Bulls flyhalf, will take over the pivot role — and the goalkicking duties — with Meyer Bosman providing back-up.

“It’s not good news,” Sharks head coach John Plumtree said yesterday of the Lambie injury.

“Pat should be back after our bye weekend [April 15-16], which means missing the games against the Crusaders, Stormers and Lions.

“But it is an opportunity for Jacques-Louis [Potgieter] and he deserves it. He has been patient and obviously he has done all the training.

“He hasn’t had a lot of game time, but now he has a break. He’s had experience at the Bulls and we are lucky to have him.”

Plumtree said there are no other injury concerns following the Chiefs game, while Bok wing JP Pietersen, who returned home early from Australia to undergo knee cartilage surgery, has recovered well and could be ready for the Twickenham game.

“We’ll make a decision on JP later in the week,” said Plumtree.

Plumtree said that the Sharks would only travel with 22 players.

“It’s a short trip, Thursday to Sunday, and it’s easy to get someone over there if we have a hiccup.”

Plumtree said that injured flank Jean Deysel had started training again on Monday.

“We’ve got to be patient with him because it was a really serious knee injury and it would be silly to rush him back.

“He’s working hard with Jimmy Wright [Sharks biokineticist] and we’re looking forward to having the big fellow back, that’s for sure.”

Plumtree said the Sharks were disappointed with the Hamilton defeat last week, following the two wins in Australia (over the Force and the Rebels).

“We did so well in Australia where our intensity was really high, but it dropped off in Hamilton. That third week on tour has been a real issue for us in the past and it continued this time. It’s something we’ll have to address in the future.”

Plumtree said the tour should still be regarded as a success.

“I would say that picking up 11 points from an available 15 isn’t a bad effort and there is still a long road to go in this competition.

“We’ve only played one South African side and we will be happy to be home after the London game. The guys are also really excited about this trip to Twickenham.”

Reflecting on the Hamilton loss, Plumtree said the heavy rain had made attacking rugby difficult.

“But we didn’t kick accurately enough and build enough territory. Our territory stats were way down and our intensity wasn’t right up there in the collision area. It certainly wasn’t a good game for us and we expected more.”

The Sharks coach said the trek home had been a hard slog.

“We didn’t get any sleep the night of the Hamilton match because we boarded a bus at 3 am.

“From a recovery point of view, it wasn’t good, but the boys had Sunday off and trained hard here on Monday. We’ve shaken off the effects of a long trip.”

He said the players are fully committed to the London game and resigned to the travelling.

“We don’t want to be using anything as an excuse and we’re preparing hard for the Crusaders.”

Sharks captain John Smit agreed that the Sharks had let themselves down in Hamilton.

“The defeat by the Chiefs wasn’t necessary. We should have done the business, but we didn’t play with the necessary intensity and we paid the price,” Smit said.

He said that a record of five wins from five would have been ideal going into the games against the Crusaders and the Stormers.

“It would have given us a buffer, a bit of insurance. But still, I would say we are looking good.”

Sunday’s game kicks off at 5 pm.

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