Move to flyhalf next step for Patrick Lambie with Pienaar sidelined by injury

2010-08-03 00:00

FIRST a fullback, then a centre, and on Saturday the 19-year-old Pat Lambie could be at flyhalf for the Sharks when they take on the Lions in their Currie Cup match at King’s Park.

The tough, bruising clash with the Free State Cheetahs has almost certainly cost head coach John Plumtree the services of Steve Meyer and Ruan Pienaar, and Lambie is the likely flyhalf replacement.

Meyer (knee) and Pienaar (shoulder), who both left the field during the Free State game, are to see specialists this week, but are unlikely to be fit for Saturday.

Plumtree could recall Monty Dumond at flyhalf, but last month the Sharks coach indicated that he sees Lambie as a natural flyhalf and he is keen to see him in that position.

“He’s an excellent playmaker with a long passing game and a genuine threat in terms of his natural awareness of time and space. The result is that he holds defenders with his attack,” Plumtree said before moving Lambie from fullback to inside centre against the Blue Bulls.

He has excelled playing closer to the action and a move to flyhalf would appear to be the next natural step.

While Pienaar and Meyer are likely to be sidelined this weekend, it is expected that fullback Louis Ludik, who also left the field on Saturday, will be fit, and he trained with the Sharks yesterday.

Meanwhile, the Sharks will know on Thursday whether the exciting former Free State Cheetahs wing and Sevens Springbok, Lionel Mapoe, will play for them in the Currie Cup.

Mapoe signed a two-year contract with the Sharks back in May, but Free State have refused to release him.

Mapoe alleged that the Cheetahs were in breach of his contract and, after taking legal advice, cut his ties with Free State.

The Sharks have been paying his salary for the past few months, but an arbitration hearing in Bloemfontein on Thursday will decide his immediate future.

Sharks CEO Brian van Zyl said yesterday that Mapoe has been struggling with injury, “but is now back at training and just about ready to play.”

Van Zyl told The Witness that there is no question that the Sharks have poached Mapoe from the Free Staters.

“The approach came from him and his agent after Mapoe’s legal advisers had told him the Free State Rugby Union had been in breach of contract.”

Mapoe and legal team were earlier this year involved in a battle with the Free State Union when it emerged that the wing was being paid only a junior contract, although he was playing Super 14 rugby.

Free State reportedly agreed to follow the Super 14 guidelines and increase his salary, but, in spite of repeated warnings, they failed to do so and, according to Mapoe’s legal team, they are in breach of contract.

• Lions flank Trevor Hall and Blue Bulls lock Flip van der Merwe will appear before SA Rugby Union judicial committees today after being cited for foul play during their Currie Cup game at the weekend.

Van der Merwe was cited under law 10.4 (a) for punching or striking an opponent.

The Blue Bulls lock punched Lions hooker Martin Bezuidenhout in the face with his left fist in the third minute of the game.

Hall was cited under law 10.4 (m) for acts contrary to good sportsmanship.

The Xerox Lions flanker was on top of the Vodacom Blue Bulls No. 4 Van der Merwe during the 81st minute of the match and with his open hands made contact with his face, near the eye area.

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