Planet Rugby

Bok duo's return set to boost Sharks

15th July 2014 12:32

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PATRICK LAMBIE SHARKS

Back from injury: Pat Lambie

Springbok pivot Pat Lambie and prop Tendai Mtawarira are set to play for the Sharks in Saturday's play-off with the Highlanders.

Sharks director of rugby Jake White is yet to assess any possible injuries after his side's bruising encounter against the Stormers in Cape Town, at the weekend, but he was confident that Lambie and Mtawarira will be available to return for the Durban encounter.

Scrum-half Cobus Reinach, who withdrew shortly before the clash with the Stormers due to a niggling injury, will also be in the selection mix for the match against the Highlanders.

The availability of Lambie should give the Sharks supporters the most confidence. He has been sidelined since March with a bicep injury, which was expected to sideline him for the rest of the season.

But he has recovered and White has hinted that the 23-year-old could return via the starting line-up this weekend.

"Patrick has been training with us for the past couple of weeks and he is an important member of the squad and will expect to play if he is passed fit to do so," White told Supersport.

"You might say it would be a risk to bring him straight back in, but he has a knack of coming back cold and then being named man of the match. You will recall that he did that in a Currie Cup final a couple of years ago.

"Frans (Steyn) was good tonight (after the win over the Stormers), S'bura (Sithole) was fantastic, so it is not a train smash if Lambie isn't ready, but it will be a big boost for us if he is.

"The Highlanders haven't played Lima Sopoaga, who has been their first choice fly-half, in the last few matches, so they are probably facing the same dilemma as we do.

"Do they play the guy who played last week, or do they bring their first choice back? Pat has been training and means a lot to the group."

Although Mtawarira is also expected to be fit, his absence has increased the Sharks' front-row depth, which could be useful during the play-off clash and the rest of the knockout matches, if the Sharks progress.

"I thought Thomas du Toit played a great game at loosehead," added White.

The experience of playing a game like this would have been of huge benefit for him. He is just 19 years old and has now experienced playing a massive derby game against the Stormers and come through on the winning side."

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