Pat Lambie is back in the Sharks squad to face the EP Kings in Durban this Saturday.
It’s been a long time coming, and although he won’t start this weekend, the fantastic news is that Lambie will be making his long-awaited return to rugby, albeit off the bench, following a bad knock taken for the Springboks against Ireland in June according to the Sharks official website.
All the concussion ‘return-to-play’ protocols have been met and having sensibly avoided rushing Lambie back into action, that day has finally arrived.
Despite his relative youth at 25-year-old, he will bring plenty of experience to Saturday’s Currie Cup clash against Eastern Province, particularly at the highest level, having accumulated an impressive total of 51 Test caps.
His calmness under pressure will be important, particularly so given the loss of the experienced Odwa Ndungane who is out for the remainder of the season. His place on the wing is taken by Rhyno Smith, while Wandile Mjekevu is in for S’bura Sithole.
Scrum-half Michael Claassens replaces Stefan Ungerer to bring added experience to the starting line-up.
There are also a number of changes up front, with Francois Kleinhans shifting to number eight to replace Philip van der Walt who took a nasty smack against Free State and is unavailable this week. This opens the door for Khaya Majola who starts on the flank.
In a rejigged front row, Thomas du Toit shifts to loosehead prop with John-Hubert Meyer coming in at tighthead, and new hooker Chiliboy Ralepelle handed the captaincy.
The Sharks: 15 Curwin Bosch, 14 Rhyno Smith, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Wandile Mjekevu, 10 Inny Radebe, 9 Michael Claassens, 8 Francois Kleinhans, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Khaya Majola, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Etienne Oosthuizen, 3 John-Hubert Meyer, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle (c), 1 Thomas du Toit
Replacements: 16 Franco Marais, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 Jean Droste, 19 Jean Deysel, 20 Stefan Ungerer, 21 Patrick Lambie, 22 Neil Maritz
Date: Saturday, September 17
Venue: Kings Park, Durban
Kick-off: 15:00 local (13:00 GMT)
Referee: Cwengile Jadezweni