Ludik out, Viljoen in at fullback for Bloem

2012-05-18 00:00

SPRINGBOK Pat Lambie will only know this morning if he will be fit and ready to take his place in the Sharks team to face the Cheetahs in their Super Rugby derby in Bloemfontein tomorrow evening.

Lambie was lightly concussed in the Sharks’ game against the Western Force in Durban last Saturday and was replaced by Frederic Michalak at half time.

He has been nursed through the week and has shown no sign of concussion, but team doctor Ewoudt van der Linde said he faced a contact test this morning before he could be cleared to play.

“We all follow the Boksmart protocols after a concussion and players are tested in various ways. Pat has trained and done gym work this week without any problems, but he has not had any contact so he will have a final test early this morning before we make a decision,” Van der Linde said.

The Sharks are confident Lambie will be passed fit and he was yesterday included in the starting line-up. Coach John Pumtree has, however, been forced to make one change to the team that ran up 50 points against the Force with the in-form Louis Ludik sidelined by a bicep injury.

Riaan Viljoen will take over at fullback, returning to the ground where he played so many Super Rugby games for the Cheetahs before moving to the Sharks.

Van der Linde said he expected Ludik to be fit for next weekend’s big game in Durban against the Stormers.

In a significant change to the bench, burly Springbok flank Willem Alberts makes a return after an absence of three weeks, taking over from young Pieter-Steph du Toit and covering the lock position.

A fit and firing Alberts would not only be a boost for the Sharks as they end their season with five South African derbies, but would also be good news for new Bok coach Heyneke Meyer, who has experienced Springbok flanks Schalk Burger and Juan Smith out injured for the England series.

Plumtree has again opted for only two backs on the bench while his five forward replacements include three Springboks in Jean Deysel, Ryan Kankowski and Alberts.

The Sharks leave for Bloemfontein this afternoon for a match they must win and they will be hoping that Pat Lambie is among them.

Sharks team – 15. Riaan Viljoen, 14. JP Pietersen, 13. Paul Jordaan, 12. Tim Whitehead, 11. Lwazi Mvovo, 10. Patrick Lambie, 9. Charl McLeod, 8. Keegan Daniel (c), 7. Marcell Coetzee, 6. Jacques Botes, 5. Anton Bresler, 4. Steven Sykes, 3. Jannie du Plessis, 2. Bismarck du Plessis, 1. Tendai Mtawarira.

Replacements: 16. Craig Burden, 17. Wiehahn Herbst, 18. Willem Alberts, 19. Jean Deysel, 20. Ryan Kankowski, 21. Frederic Michalak, 22. Meyer Bosman.

Referee: Jonathan Kaplan. Kick-off: 5.05 pm.

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