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Fri Apr 25 10:11:27 SAST 2014

Sharks go to slaughterhouse without Lambie

SBU MJIKELISO | 16 July, 2012 07:350 Comments
2012 SupeRugbY: The Sharks training and press conference
Pat Lambie during a Sharks training session at Kings Park on July 10, 2012 in Durban, South Africa

THE Sharks travelled to Brisbane yesterday for their Super 15 play-off against the Reds without Pat Lambie.

The Springbok fullback had returned to the Sharks team only last week, following a similar injury during the test series against England.

Lambie limped off the field at halftime during the Sharks' play-off 34-15 clincher against the Cheetahs on Saturday, having played for only 40 minutes.

South Africa under-20 lock Pieter-Steph du Toit also injured an ankle at the weekend, so the Sharks will be desperately hoping that Steven Sykes recovers from his niggling knee trouble to return to that position.

Although Louis Ludik has proved a capable replacement for Lambie at fullback, Sharks coach John Plumtree would have wanted all his players available for a playoff against the defending champions in their Brisbane backyard.

The Reds have won their last six matches in a row, a streak that started in the middle of May.

The Sharks would have learnt much from Saturday, especially their inconsistency in set-piece execution.

"I think everyone was a bit nervous. We talked about embracing the challenge but when the fundamentals of the game break down you can't do that."

But JP Pietersen's man-of-the-match performance has convinced the coach that his team could win away from home.

"Everyone says we can't win on the road but we're going to prove them wrong ... and everyone, rightly so, talks about how the defeat by the Lions has hurt us in terms of travelling. But the Waratahs' game was frustrating as well, we were up 24-13, dominating and we lost that game (34-30)."

The early travel will allow the Sharks to acclimatise as they attempt to book a semifinal date with the Chiefs next week.

Super 15 play-offs

JULY 21

Christchurch: Crusaders vs Bulls 9.35am

Brisbane: Reds vs Sharks 11.40am

JULY 28

Newlands: Stormers vs Crusaders/Bulls

Hamilton: Chiefs vs Reds/Sharks

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