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SharksThis is the 6th article in the series of Cell C Sharks Squad Contenders for Super Rugby 2014. We do 2 articles per week per South African Super Rugby participating franchise.

We discuss the players IN the Super Rugby Group, and not all the options beyond that.

In this Article we look at the contenders for FLYHALVES in the Cell C Sharks 2014 Super Rugby group, and whether they could force their way into Bok contention.

 

 

The Contenders:

Name: Patrick Lambie:

Position Flyhalf / Fullback
Height 1.78m
Weight 87kg
Date of Birth 17 October 1990
Place of Birth Durban
Provincial Debut 2009 for Sharks vs Griquas
Provincial Caps 29
Provincial Points 324
Super Rugby Debut 18 March 2010 for Sharks vs Highlanders
Super Rugby Caps 50
Super Rugby Points 515
Test Debut 6 November 2010 vs Ireland
Test Caps 32 Plus 1 Tour match
Test Points 68
Patrick Lambie

Patrick Lambie is a product of Clifton Primary School (Durban) and Michaelhouse.

He is capable of playing flyhalf, centre and fullback, and was the leading points scorer in the 2009 ABSA Under 21 Currie Cup despite only turning 19 later that year. He represented South Africa at Under 20 level when he was selected for the squad, and was utilized extensively as the first choice fullback during the 2010 Under 20 World Cup in Argentina.

Lambie joined the Sharks senior team setup in the 2010 Super 14 season, where his debut was spent in the fullback position. He was shifted to centre in the 2010 Currie Cup and due to injury was required to fill the flyhalf birth. He was integral in helping the Sharks reach Currie Cup success in 2010, including scoring 2 tries, 3 conversions and 3 penalties in the Sharks’ 30-10 win over Western Province in the final and was awarded Man-of-the-Match. Lambie was also the second highest point scorer in the Currie Cup.

Lambie was called up to represent the Springboks during their 2010 tour to Ireland and the United Kingdom. He made his debut against Ireland on 6 November 2010 at flyhalf as a replacement for Morné Steyn. He also started against the Barbarians team on that tour at fullback. Lambie was Michaelhouse school’s first Springbok rugby player in their 115 year history.

Lambie was not a prodigious rugby player during his Clifton Preparatory school years, but he came into his own while attending Michaelhouse school. He played in the highest level teams in all of the Under 14, Under 15 and Under 16 age groups at Michaelhouse. He suffered an elbow injury in his 2006 year, which sidelined him for most of the season. In 2007 Lambie made the Michaelhouse first team as fullback and went on to play both KZN at Craven Week and SA Schools. In 2008 Lambie became headboy of Michaelhouse and was elected both first team rugby and cricket captain. In 2008 he once again made the KZN Craven Week and SA Schools sides. Lambie was both the KZN cricket and KZN Craven Week captain.

Lambie had a successful season in 2009 for the Sharks Under 21 team, where he played at fullback and scored a personal haul of 192 points in the competition and ended the season as the Under 21 Currie Cup top points scorer. He made 1 appearance for the Sharks senior side in the 2009 Currie Cup against the GWK Griquas at centre from the bench.

Lambie made his Super 14 debut for the Sharks against the Highlanders at fullback on 18 March 2010. He went on to start the next 7 consecutive games. Lambie then played for the South African Under 20 team in the 2010 IRB Junior World Championship in Argentina. He played fullback for all of the games and ended up as the tournament’s second top scorer (behind Tyler Bleyendaal). South Africa ended 3rd in the competition.

Lambie also took part in the 2010 Currie Cup Premier Division, first at fullback, then at centre and finally at flyhalf where he would remain for the rest of the campaign. Lambie scored 205 points in 16 games and ended up the second highest scorer (behind Willem de Waal) in the competition. He played in all The Sharks 16 games, coming off the bench in just 1 of them. In 2010 he played 24 matches for the Sharks, scoring a total of 215 points in all competitions for the Sharks. Lambie was awarded Man-of-the-Match after the Currie Cup final in which he played his part in the Sharks’ victory against the Western Province.

In 2011 he played in Super Rugby for the Sharks. H broke his finger in a match and was sidelined for the next 3 matches. He came back strongly from his injury and propelled the Sharks from their dismal form and then contributed to taking them to 6th place on the Super Rugby Log. He finished 4th on the point-scorers chart with 193 points, which included 4 tries in his first full season of Super Rugby. Lambie broke the Sharks record for most points scored in a season by an individual player. The Sharks made it to the Super Rugby play-off’s. His success and brilliant play in the Super Rugby season earned him a place in the preliminary Springbok squad for the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

In 2011 he made 2 more appearances for the Springboks during the Tri-Nations and earned his first start at flyhalf on 30 July 2011 at flyhalf against the All Blacks.

During the 2011 Rugby World Cup, Patrick Lambie started in the fullback berth for all the group stage games and for the quarter-final match.

After returning to South Africa from the World Cup he played Currie Cup rugby.

In 2012 Lambie once again played Super Rugby. In the match against the Waratahs, Lambie injured his right hand which would put him out for 2 weeks and miss the matches against the Brumbies and Hurricanes. In the following 6 games after he returned from injury he scored 89 points in the 5 games he played, missing 1 match due to concussion. Lambie and the Sharks put in a strong run towards the final of the Super Rugby tournament with Lambie winning the Man-of-the-Match award against the Highlanders. Lambie would suffer from injury again however and miss the play-off match against the Reds and the semi-final against the Stormers but he returned to play against the Chiefs in the Final, the Sharks losing 37-6 to a strong Chiefs side. Lambie played 13 games during the 2012 Super Rugby season and he scored 141 points.

Lambie only played 3 matches during the 2012 Currie Cup Premier Division season, due to his international commitments for the Springboks, earning 2 Man-Of-The-Match awards. Lambie finished the Currie Cup campaign with 50 points in 3 games and was selected for the Springboks Northern Hemisphere tour at the end of the year.

Lambie’s all round play and his position of 5th on the super rugby point-scorer’s table got him selected for the Springbok squad for the 2012 England tour of South Africa. He took to the pitch at halftime with the score at 6-6 and helped the Springboks to a 22-17 victory over England. This was his 12th Springbok cap. He was selected as Springbok reserve fullback for The Rugby Championship in 2012, but was kept warming the bench in favour of the regular fullback, Zane Kirchner, during the 2 matches against Argentina in August 2012. On 6 October 2012 he played as reserve fullback (taking the field at the 64th minute) against the All Blacks at FNB Stadium, Soweto at the age of only 21. He was selected as Springbok flyhalf and goal kicker for the Outgoing Tour to Britain and Ireland during November 2012.

Lambie was recognised for his consistent and exceptional play in 2012 by being nominated for SARU Player of the year.

2013 Was not a good year for Lambie in general, off form for a large part of the Super Rugby season, yet still cracking the nod on the bench for the Springboks behind Morné Steyn and when getting on the pitch delivering but not to the extent his worshippers would like. He performed well for The Sharks in the Currie Cup final, which they won against DHL Western Province.

His playing career is as follows:

  • 2007 – KZN – U18 Coca-Cola Craven Week, South Africa – SA Schools
  • 2008 – South Africa – U18 Elite Squads, South Africa – SA Schools, KZN – U18 Coca-Cola Craven Week
  • 2009 – Sharks Invitational XV – ABSA Currie Cup Compulsory Friendlies, Sharks – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division, Sharks – ABSA Under 21 Competition
  • 2010 – Sharks – Vodacom Super 14, Sharks XV – Vodacom Cup, South Africa – IRB Junior World Championships, Sharks – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division, Springboks – Outgoing Tours
  • 2011 – Sharks – Vodacom Super Rugby, Springboks – Castle Tri-Nations, The Sharks – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division, Springboks – IRB Rugby World Cup
  • 2012 – Sharks – Vodacom Super Rugby, Springboks – Castle Incoming Tours, The Sharks – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division, Springboks – The Rugby Championship, Springboks – Castle Outgoing Tours
  • 2013 – Sharks – Vodacom Super Rugby, Springboks – Castle Incoming Series, The Sharks – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division, Springboks – The Rugby Championship, Springboks – Castle Lager Outgoing Tour

As can be seen from the long description of Patrick Lambie’s feats, above, people love to discuss Lambie at lenght and he is one of the firm favourites of most Sharks supporters, who do not take kindly to critisism of Lambie. Thet said, he is favourite to get the starting berth at flyhalf at the Cell C Sharks under Jake White in 2014 .

 

Name: Frederik Johannes “Fred” Zeilinga:

Position Flyhalf
Height 1.75m
Weight 82kg
Date of Birth 11 December 1992
Place of Birth Ladysmith
Provincial Debut 2011 for Sharks XV in Vodacom Cup vs Blue Bulls
Provincial Caps 29
Provincial Points 247
Super Rugby Debut 2013 for Sharks vs Southern Kings
Super Rugby Caps 1
Super Rugby Points 5
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0
Fred Zeilinga

Fred Zeilinga is a product of Monument Primary School and Glenwood High School.

He represented the Natal Sharks at Under 13, Under 16, Under 18, Under 19 and Under 21 levels between 2005 and 2012.

In 2011, he made his senior debut for the Sharks XV in the Vodacom Cup competition in the season-opening game against the Blue Bulls. He missed a conversion 2 minutes after coming on, but did convert 1 ten minutes later to help his team to a 30–19 victory.

He made 3 more substitute appearances during 2011 and was promoted to first choice flyhalf for the Sharks XV during the 2012 Vodacom Cup competition, making a further 7 starts. He also finished as top scorer in the 2012 Under 21 Currie Cup, scoring 154 points in his 10 appearances.

He also took over the kicking duties during the 2013 Vodacom Cup competition, where he once again scored in excess of 100 points in the season.

He was included in the Sharks squad for their final match of the 2013 Super Rugby season against the Southern Kings. He appeared as a replacement to make his Super Rugby debut and also scored a try in a 58–13 victory.

His playing career is as follows:

  • 2005 – KZN – U13 Coca Cola Craven Week
  • 2008 – South Africa – U16 Elite Squads, KZN – U16 Coca-Cola Grant Khomo Week
  • 2009 – KZN – U18 Coca-Cola Craven Week, Sharks – ABSA Under 19 Competition
  • 2010 – KZN – U18 Craven Week, Sharks – ABSA Under 19 Competition
  • 2011 – Sharks XV – Vodacom Cup, Sharks – ABSA Under 21 Competition, Sharks – ABSA Under 19 Competition
  • 2012 – Sharks XV – Vodacom Cup, Sharks – ABSA Under 21 Competition
  • 2013 – Sharks XV – Vodacom Cup, Sharks – Vodacom Super Rugby, Sharks – ABSA Under 21 Competition, The Sharks – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division

Fred really shined in some games for The Sharks in the Currie Cup Premier Division, before patrick Lambie returned from the Springboks and will at least be on the bench on match day in 2014.

 

Name: Johannes Petrus Jacobus “Hansie” Graaff:

Position Flyhalf / Fullback / Centre
Height 1.91m
Weight 98kg
Date of Birth 10 September 1989
Place of Birth Pretoria
Provincial Debut 2012 for Griffons in Vodacom Cup
Provincial Caps 27
Provincial Points 180
Super Rugby Debut
Super Rugby Caps
Super Rugby Points 0
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0
Hansie Graaff

Hansie Graaff is a product of Mayville Primary School, Wonderboom High School, Tswane University of Technology (TUT), North-West University (Pukke) and University of Pretoria (Tuks).

He sprung to prominence playing for a struggling TUT Vikings side in the Varsity Cup between 2010 and 2012. He joined the Griffons in 2012, quickly establishing himself as a first team regular and making several appearances for them in the Vodacom Cup and Currie Cup competitions, ending the latter competition as the fourth top scorer.

He was then included in the final Cheetahs squad for the 2013 Super Rugby season, but failed to make any appearances for them.

He subsequently moved to the Natal Sharks for the 2013 Currie Cup Premier Division, but missed the entire competition through a knee injury. However, he was offered a contract extension with the Durban-based side until April 2014.

His playing career is as follows:

  • 2010 – TUT – Varsity Cup
  • 2011 – TUT – Varsity Cup
  • 2012 – TUT – Varsity Cup, Griffons – Vodacom Cup, Griffons – ABSA Currie Cup First Division
  • 2013 – Toyota Cheetahs – Lions Challenge, Down Touch Griffons – Vodacom Cup, Toyota Cheetahs squad member – Vodacom Super Rugby, Down Touch Griffons – ABSA Currie Cup First Division, The Sharks squad member – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division

I think Hansie has huge talent and is just simmering to break through, most probably as a fullback, though.

 

Starters:

The Sharks will start with Patrick Lambie as primary flyhalf, but in a rotational system we should also see Fred Zeilinga start some games. Personally I would not be surprised if Fred Zeilinga pushes Lambie hard for the starting berth and if Patrick Lambie does not shape, Fred might overtake him.

Apart from these 2, there is still Hansie Graaf, although I expect him to get game time, if any, at fullback and not at flyhalf.

Young Robert du Preez is also on the fringes of Super Rugby squad selection at flyhalf.

 

The next Article in the range will deal with the Cell C Sharks’ midfield.

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