Sharks rugby: both Lambie and Potgieter to get a chance at flyhalf in pre-season friendlies

2011-01-20 00:00

SHARKS head coach John Plumtree is looking for an improvement in the flyhalf play of both Pat Lambie and Jaques-Louis Potgieter in this year’s Super Rugby competition.

Potgieter was signed from the Blue Bulls at the start of last year’s Currie Cup season, before Lambie burst on the scene last year and gained selection for the Springbok tour squad to the UK.

The Sharks coach said both players would be given a chance in the pivot role.

“When we contracted Jacques, we didn’t have a flyhalf in sight,” said Plumtree. “It was a while ago and that’s the way contracting works. We were in bits and pieces at the time but now we’ve unearthed Pat.”

Plumtree said it had always been on the cards that Lambie would play at flyhalf.

“We just didn’t know how good he would be and how quickly he would develop. We’ve been really happy with the way he progressed through the Currie Cup and the way he won the final with that man-of-the-match performance. Now he’s comfortable in that role.”

But Plumtree warned that there are testing times ahead of the 20-year-old flyhalf.

“Pat understands that Super Rugby is a lot quicker and he will have less time on the ball. It’s going to be another step up for him in terms of playing that position and the pressure will be intense.”

Potgieter has already played Super Rugby at flyhalf for both the Cheetahs and the Bulls, but Plumtree is convinced he has not yet reached his potential.

“We think we can improve Potgieter’s game and that’s the talk we’ve had with him. He wasn’t able to force his way into the starting Bulls team ahead of Morne Steyn (and that’s why he moved to Durban).”

Plumtree believes that the 26-year-old Potgieter will have more chances with the Sharks than the Bulls because Lambie can be shifted back to his old position at fullback if necessary.

“Pat is obviously very comfortable at fullback as well and the long season will be about rotating players and managing them properly.”

Both players would be used in the pre-season friendlies in Cape Town at the end of the month, he said.

The Sharks meet first the Lions and then the Stormers in the triangular series.

“Both will get game time at Newlands and it will be good to see them both play. If you asked me if I would pick Pat Lambie flyhalf, I’d say ‘yes, he is a 10’. But I think Jacques-Louis is a 10 as well, and not a bad one.

“The important thing for us as a team is that we have got depth.”

The fact that both kick at goal is an advantage,” he added.

“Pat is going to continually grow his kicking game. We have a good relationship with Braam van Straaten [the former Springbok] who is worked with both Pat and Jacques and that will be good for them.”

Plumtree said he is encouraged with what he had seen in Potgieter. “We’re really happy with the way Jacques-Louis is going.

“He’s learning quickly and he is highly-competitive.”

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