With Bok winger JP Pietersen expected to return to the Sharks squad this weekend (and Odwa Ndungane a week later) , the Sharks are suddenly looking spoiled for choice when it comes to selecting the back three.
Bringing Pietersen back into the fold is likely to prompt some sort of a reshuffle and while it’s tempting to say that one should simply drop Louis Ludik, the reality is that the former Lion is sorely in need of game time and having fought so hard to get him, it would perhaps be a little foolish to drop him after a single performance. To my way of thinking, Pat Lambie is the man who needs to move out of the back three to make way for Pietersen – not because he’s not a great player and a competent fullback, but rather because he possibly lacks the extra yard of pace necessary to really excel in the position.
We all saw on Saturday how the quicker Griquas backs scored seemingly at will off turnover ball, thanks in no small part to the Sharks’ inability to match them for pace. Lambie and inside centre Riaan Swanepoel were the main culprits, but it’s the former who must take ultimate responsibility as he is meant to be “the last line of defence”.
I’ve been saying for some time that I believe Lambie is a natural flyhalf and as a gifted footballer will eventually become a great in that position. Perhaps it’s time to take a leaf out of the New Zealand coaching manual and start his eventual progression to that spot by selecting him at inside centre. With a seasoned campaigner at flyhalf (Steve Meyer) and the experience of captain Stefan Terblanche outside him, Lambie may just prove to be a revelation in this position. Riaan Swanepoel continues to struggle to find the necessary versatility in his game, while Dries Strauss is also far too predictable in his approach, so for the Sharks, while a gamble, this may just pay off.
It also will allow Ludik to move into his preferred position at the back, from where he will have no option but to get fully involved in the play.
What do you think, fans? Could Pat Lambie be an option at 12? Should he stay at 15? Or should we throw him straight in at flyhalf and see what happens? My take is that, unless the forwards play at least twice as well as they did against Griquas, it’s not going to make a bugger of difference anyway!Tweet