Patrick Lambie will not be on a plane to Wellington this week to face the Hurricanes, as the Sharks Director of Rugby Gary Gold explains.
There has been an injury cloud around the Springbok fly-half for most of the season, which has culminated in him missing the crucial quarter-final clash in Wellington on Saturday.
Lambie is still suffering the after-effects of the massive late hit he took from CJ Stander in the June Tests while playing for the Springboks.
However, there has been some confusion due to reports indicating that Lambie would not be eligible to play anyway, as he has not played in four matches in the group stage of the tournament as legislation requires. Lambie missed the first two thirds of the tournament due to the shoulder injury he picked on pre-season tour in France.
Finally, Gold has gone on record to sort the rumors from the truth.
“The situation is two-fold…see it as two completely different things,” said Gold.
“The first thing is about Patrick’s injury… and his return to play and the protocol surrounding that. Patrick has to be symptom free to start his exercise, and then he gets exercise-induced symptoms or he’s symptom-free, and from there you can clear him. That hasn’t happened yet.
“To be proactive, hoping that he was going to be symptom-free and that we could start the process, I had to make an application for dispensation last week which was turned down because we’ve got cover in the squad and SANZAAR turned us down.
“Every single day it changes and then we have to do a reassessment and then we have to make a decision.
“However, the problem is that we’re now five or six weeks down the track so now Patrick’s done no exercise so now we’ve got a third complication in that he has done no training as well.”
Gold added that Lambie could still feature in the remaining finals should he recover and the Sharks make it through.