Sharks to see ‘a lot more’ of Pat Lambie

2010-03-23 00:00

SHARKS coach John Plumtree yesterday paid tribute to rookie teenage fullback Pat Lambie, who made his Super 14 debut in the team’s 30-16 win over the Highlanders in Dunedin at the weekend.

But the Sharks coach also had some bad news, with Springbok lock Johann Muller out of Saturday’s game against the Hurricanes with a finger injury, which required surgery in Dunedin on Saturday night.

Plumtree said conditions had been tough for the 19-year-old Lambie.

“It wasn’t easy for him. The field was wet, it was drizzling and the Highlanders were obviously going to test a youngster who has no Super 14 experience.

“But he answered all the questions that were asked of him, and that was great.

“We are obviously going to see a lot more of him.”

Plumtree would not speculate on a possible move of Lambie from fullback to flyhalf in place of Englishman Andy Goode.

Goode was a rushed signing by Plumtree, who wanted experienced back-up at flyhalf following the loss of Juan Hernandez and then Steve Meyer, to allow Ruan Pienaar to return to his preferred position at scrumhalf.

If the Sharks’ interest in the Super 14 is ended by another defeat, Plumtree may well look to the future by fielding Lambie in the pivotal role.

The Sharks’ commercial manager, Rudolf Straeuli, is busy arranging a work permit for Goode in the event of Plumtree wishing to use the Englishman in the Sharks’ remaining six games in South Africa.

“It depends on when Andy goes back to Europe, but at this stage, Pat’s playing fullback,” Plumtree said when asked about a possible change.

The Sharks’ coach said he was delighted to finally have got a win under his belt.

“It didn’t really matter how we did it. We had to get something out of the tour, and I’m happy for the players and management ... We had some bad luck along the way.”

“We managed to get a TMO decision that went against the Highlanders and we scored an intercept try.

“In Australia, against the Waratahs, some calls went against us so it was good to get some luck.”

Plumtree said the lineout problems against the Highlanders “were more a case of what we got wrong than what they got right”.

“We know from the statistics that we have the best lineout in the competition, but there were a couple of missed throws.

“There are always certain areas that we’re not happy with, but it was just important that we got a win.”

The New Zealander said that a lack of composure in attack had counted against the Sharks in this year’s Super 14 campaign. “We’ve been creating the opportunities but lacking patience.

“We’re turning possession over when we’re close to the line, and that’s a real concern for us.”

Plumtree would also not commit as to whether he will keep his captain John Smit at loosehead, where he packed down for the first time this season against the Highlanders.

To meet the demands of both the Boks and the Sharks, while accommodating hooker Bismarck du Plessis, Smit has spent the past two years working on new skills at tighthead prop.

But it remains a struggle and quite clearly the Sharks have been a more effective scrummaging unit when Jannie du Plessis has been at tighthead, with Smit back at his old position of hooker.

Smit at loosehead now provides another option.

“You have to hand it to Smitty. He has played all three positions in the front row this season, and his experience shows.

“We’re faced with a pretty big scrum in the Hurricanes on Saturday so it’s going to be a real test for our front row again.

“But I was pleased for John with this win, and he enjoyed playing loosehead,” said Plumtree.


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