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Patrick Lambie

South AfricaThe Springboks have landed in Argentina with no injury concerns, but Meyer will be forced to ponder the likes of fit-again Pat Lambie and Juan Smith.

Having come away from the wet and wild Loftus Versfeld with only an injury before the game to Willem Alberts, Meyer will have a full compliment to pick from when they play Argentina in Salta.

Meyer has now picked up Lions captain Warren Whiteley as cover for Alberts who is staying at home alongside Victor Matfield.

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Charl McLeod and Pat Lambie

Charl McLeod and Pat Lambie celebrating the Currie Cup victory in 2013. Will they be celebrating with the Super Rugby trophy in two weeks time?

The return of Pat Lambie and the arrival of Charl McLeod onto the field in the final 20 minutes of Highlanders game coincided with ‘some of the best rugby’ for the Sharks.

The Sharks late fightback after they twice came from behind in the second half to see off the stubborn Highlanders 31-27 has secured them a semifinal date with the Crusaders.

White was clearly happy with the entire team, but in particular with his reserve halfback pairing.

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Jake White

Cell C Sharks coach Jake White

Cell C Sharks director of rugby Jake White has admitted that there was a big temptation to start against the Highlanders with Pat Lambie, but in the end decided against it for fear of disrupting what worked for his side against the Stormers last week.

According to the supersport.com website, speaking a few hours after announcing a match day squad that included Lambie on the bench as back-up to starting flyhalf Frans Steyn, White said he was hoping that the Springbok will get a chance to play in the second half of the Vodacom Super Rugby play-off and thus be ready to start a possible semifinal.

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Cell C SharksIn the second of the Qualifying Round matches, the Cell C Sharks hosts the Highlanders from Otago. The Sharks won the SA Conference and thereby ensured they booked a home qualifier by ending 3rd on the Combined Log. The Highlanders took the last of the wild card positions by ending their season 6th.

The long-awaited return of Springbok Patrick Lambie highlights the Sharks team for their Super Rugby play-off encounter with the Highlanders in Durban on Saturday.

Scrumhalf Cobus Reinach also makes a welcome return ahead of this preliminary qualifier.

However, it is the return of Lambie’s – albeit on the replacement bench – that will hog the headlines.

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Patrick Lambie

Pat Lambie receiving attention after tearing his bicep at Loftus

If reports coming out of the Shark’s press conference held today is to be believed, it would seem like the return of Pat Lambie is imminent. According to captain Bismarck Du Plessis, his return against the Highlanders will be a massive lift to their hopes of winning and progressing to the semi finals.

Lambie tore his bicep against the Bulls at Loftus on the 24th of March, and according to early diagnosis it was believed that he might be out for the rest of the Super Rugby season. Lambie has however recovered faster than expected and started traing with the Shark squad a few weeks ago already.

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Francois Steyn - Cell C Sharks

Francois Steyn back at No 10 for the Cell C Sharks

Frans Steyn has moved into the flyhalf position with Paul Jordaan recovering from injury to take his No 12 jersey in a strong Sharks team.

Director of Rugby Jake White has named a strong side for this derby game, opting to start with a formidable side that has been the hallmark of this team throughout the competition.

Of the injured trio of Paul Jordaan, Pat Lambie and Beast Mtawarira all receiving scans this week to confirm or deny a return to rugby, it was only Jordaan who was passed fit.

He has been included alongside JP Pietersen in the midfield. Steyn takes over from Tim Swiel at flyhalf and Fred Zeilinga has been named as back-up off the bench.

Ryan Kankowski is back at No 8 after withdrawing from last week’s game with a groin strain, and White has bolstered the starting line-up with three Boks who played off the bench last week, Willem Alberts, Jannie du Plessis and brother and captain Bismarck du Plessis.

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Tendai 'Beast'Mtawarira

Tendai ‘Beast’Mtawarira

Patrick Lambie

Patrick Lambie

Paul Jordaan

Paul Jordaan

Cell C Sharks director of rugby Jake White will know later on Tuesday whether he will have the services of the injured trio of Tendai Mtawarira, Patrick Lambie and Paul Jordaan for Saturday’s all important final Vodacom Super Rugby league match against the DHL Stormers at Newlands.

All three players are heading back from injury and are said to now be recovered and rehabilitated, White just has to find out whether they are ready yet to take the field in a big match like the clash with the Stormers is shaping up to be. The status of flyhalf Lambie in particular will be eagerly awaited by not only White but also fans of the Durban franchise, for pivot has been problematic for the Sharks since the Springbok was injured playing against the Bulls in Pretoria in March.

As it is, Lambie has made an excellent recovery, as the initial prognosis was that his torn bicep would keep him out of the rest of the Super Rugby season. However, regardless of whether he is ready for the Newlands clash, it appears he may be ready to play a part in the knock-out games that follow.

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Patrick Lambie

Patrick Lambie

Cell C SharksThe Cell C Sharks will return to Vodacom Super Rugby action this coming weekend one position lower on the log than they were when they went into the June break, but there is plenty of reason for them to be optimistic about their chances of going all the way to the title.

While the Sharks were out on their feet when the June international window arrived, as evidenced by their lame performance in the narrow home loss to the DHL Stormers, the break may have come at just the right time for them. During the off period they have welcomed Patrick Lambie and Anton Bresler back to training, while Jean Deysel is now over his suspension that was incurred for the stomping incident that saw him being sent off against the Crusaders in Christchurch.

Willem Alberts, one of the players who was looking tired before the break, had the week off from international duty last weekend because of the concussion that forced him off the field in the second test against Wales. He should be relatively refreshed when he does return, be it this week against the Toyota Cheetahs in Bloemfontein or next week against the Stormers in Cape Town.

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Patrick Lambie

Patrick Lambie

Francois Steyn

Francois Steyn

The Cell C Sharks players not in the Springbok camp all returned to Kings Park this week as they start preparing for the final stages of the Super Rugby tournament, Sharks website editor Michael Marnewick reports.

In two weeks’ time, they will resume duty against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein, followed by their final pool match, against the Stormers in Cape Town. The knockout stages follow with the Sharks already guaranteed a place in the top three, having already secured the South African Conference.

The players have had a mixed programme over the June break, alternating rest with gym work and field training to balance the needs to break from the game, without losing strength and fitness.

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Jake White

Jake White

Cell C Sharks coach Jake White agreed that the last gasp defeat to the DHL Stormers in the final Vodacom Super Rugby match before the June break was a massive blow to his team, but he refused at the post-match press conference to let the disappointment cloud his perspective.

“Look, if you had asked me at the start of the competition if I would buy a situation where we would be going into the June break at the top of the log by two points with two matches for us to play, I would happily have brought that,” said White.

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Francois SteynTim SwielCell C SharksSharks Director of Rugby Jake White is yet to decide whether Frans Steyn or Tim Swiel will start at flyhalf against the Cheetahs this weekend.

Fred Zeilinga injured his hamstring in the victory over the Lions at Ellis Park last Saturday and was replaced by Steyn who shifted from inside centre and performed well at pivot.

Zeilinga joins first-choice flyhalf Pat Lambie on the sidelines, with his injury expected to rule him out for a couple of weeks, which leaves White with an interesting decision.

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Jake WhitePatrick LambieCobus ReinachCell C SharksJake White has never been one of those coaches who makes excuses, and he refused to use injuries as an excuse for his Cell C Sharks team’s defeat to the Vodacom Bulls as an excuse, but if he was honest he would probably agree that the disruption has come in the area he can least afford it as his team heads into a critical stage of the Vodacom Super Rugby campaign.

Before the season kicked off, White could well have pinpointed flyhalf and No 5 lock as the areas where depth was a concern. He needed Patrick Lambie to be fit for as many games as possible, and Pieter-Steph du Toit was so far ahead of the rest when it came to leading the lineout and posing a threat to opposition ball that he was near to indispensable.

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South AfricaThe South African Rugby Union (SARU) confirmed on Friday that a group of 17 players had been contracted for the 2014 Springbok season – completing the process earlier than at any time for a number of seasons.

The signing of seven players to new Springbok contracts was completed in the past week to add to the ten players who agreed long-term contracts in 2013. Jurie Roux, CEO of SARU, confirmed that there was scope to contract additional players if the coach wished.

The seven newly-contracted players are Marcell Coetzee (loose forward), JJ Engelbrecht (centre / wing), Francois Hougaard (scrumhalf), Patrick Lambie (flyhalf / fullback), Willie le Roux (fullback / wing), Coenie Oosthuizen (prop) and Flip van der Merwe (lock).

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Cell C SharksBismarck du PlessisCell C Sharks Director of Rugby, Jake White, on Thursday announced that Springbok hooker, Bismarck du Plessis, will captain the Cell C Sharks in 2014.

Regarded as one of the best hookers in the world, Bismarck has been colossal figure for the Cell C Sharks over the years. With 103 Vodacom Super Rugby appearances to his name, he is a player who leads by example and is well respected by the team.

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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.

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South AfricaCombining a fair bit of Springbok news, as speculation flows…

John McFarland, Springbok defensive coach says the Springbok defences were already better last week compared to the previous game against the All Blacks.

Scribes worry and remind Bakkies Botha to keep his dicipline on field and not to succumb to the “Red Mist” od ill-dicipline and the real threat of Yellow or Red Cards.

It also appears that both the formidable frame of young Pieter-Steph du Toit (lock) and that of Patrick Lambie will be in the run-on side for the Springboks on the weekend, with scribes writing up the virtues of Pieter-Steph du Toit almost non-stop, whilst others consider Lambie the perfect fir for the Scotland game.

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South AfricaA barrage of news and speculation greets us early on a Monday morning after a power game against Wales by the Springboks, this past weekend.

Firstly, the match analysis… reports indicating that Team Management and leaders in the side are lauding Fourie du Preez for his Man Of The Match performance against Wales.

Secondly, it appears that the injury to Bok flyhalf Morné Steyn, who had to leave the field after only 18 minutes in the game is not serious, with a troublesome back spasm picked up in the pre-game warm-up blamed and the player taken off to prevent real injury.

Thirdly, with 1 win under the belt and 2 games remaining, the next one being against Scotland on Sunday, speculation is rife whether Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer will rest some weary players and pick a hand full of other players, to test new combinations against what should be South Africa’s weakest opposition on tour.

We will discuss the above under seperate headings below:

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South AfricaExperienced backline stars JP Pietersen and Jaque Fourie are back in the Springbok team for Saturday’s Castle Lager Outgoing Tour opener against Wales in Cardiff, while Frans Malherbe will make his Test debut at the Millennium Stadium.

In naming his side for Saturday’s Test against the current Six Nations champions, Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer has decided to hand Fourie his first Test for South Africa since the Rugby World Cup in 2011, while a combination of injury and non-availability means Pietersen is back for his first taste of international rugby yet this season.

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Patrick LambiePat Lambie is the Sharks’ only injury concern heading into their clash with the Kings in Durban this week after he picked up an injury in the clash with the Bulls.

The versitile back picked up a back injury in their one-point loss against the Bulls in Pretoria on Saturday and Sharks coach Grant Bashford is worried that he will not be available for the clash with the Kings.

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Bismarck du PlessisHaving come out of their match against the Blues without any serious injuries, The Sharks were able to name an almost complete replica side for this Saturday’s clash with the Bulls.

Aside from Kyle Cooper making way for Bismarck du Plessis’ return to the starting line-up for the first time this year (and re-uniting an all-Bok front row), The Sharks side to take on the Bulls has remained unchanged for the penultimate pool match of Vodacom Super Rugby 2013.

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The SharksJohn PlumtreeClive WoodwardJake WhiteJohn Smit - 2013 - 002There seems to be a lot happening at the Sharks, in front of and behind the scenes, prior to this weekend’s Super Rugby clash between the Sharks and the Blues.

Apparently John Smit said no to Jake White and Clive Woodward (Both World Cup winning coaches) but chose Brendan Venter in stead, read more below.

More news involving John Smit and outgoing coach John Plumtree suggests that the 2 are to meet to see if they can sort out diferences, the package John Plumtree is demanding and the immediate way forward, read more below too.

With Super Rugby back on the weekend, the speculation is also rife about who will play at flyhalf and in midfield, with a host of centres injured but with Butch James back. Will the flyhalf spot go to Butch or Patrick Lambie and will the other beselected at inside centre?

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The SharksIn this Article we look at the contenders for FLYHALVES at the Sharks 2013 Super Rugby group.

FLYHALF – this is the position the Sharks now have the most depth they have had in a long time, even with the departure of the French general, Freddy Michalak.

The Sharks are in a position where they at least always have parity at scrum time and for the most part should win the breakdown clashes! This allows for their halfbacks to be more involved in games and they are also able to set up running lines and control games more effectively.

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Patrick Lambie missed his opportunity to stake a claim for the Springbok No.10 jersey at Murrayfield at the weekend.

This was Lambie’s chance to shine. The wet European conditions had stayed away for the Springboks’ Edinburgh encounter against an ordinary Scottish outfit fresh off a 51-22 hiding from New Zealand.

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