Sharks coach John Plumtree has confirmed to theSuperXV website that Patrick Lambie is set to play at flyhalf for the Sharks in the 2013 Super Rugby tournament, instead of fullback, where he played last year for most of the season.
During the 2012 season, the Sharks looked to accommodate both Frederic Michalak and Lambie in the same starting XV, meaning Lambie made most of his appearances at fullback.
Following Michalak’s return France this season to take up a lucrative contract with Toulouse, Lambie has become the first-choice flyhalf selection.
Lambie played for the Springboks at flyhalf in their undefeated end of year tour against Scotland, Ireland and England last year and has expressed the desire to get more game-time in the position to increase his chances of continued Bok selection.
Plumtree expressed satisfaction at Lambie’s international experience at flyhalf, but cautioned that playing flyhalf for the Sharks would demand more personal responsibility from the player than the Boks.
“It was good to see him play those Test matches at flyhalf, but I think it’s also important to understand that the Boks play a different style of rugby to us.”
“I think the Boks play more off the scrumhalf and we generally play more off 10 so he’ll have more responsibility with the Sharks.
“But he started playing really well at flyhalf in last year’s Super Rugby competition before he got injured, and then obviously Fred came into that role.”
“I think people forget that Pat picked up quite a few injuries last year, so he didn’t have a great season in Super Rugby from an injury perspective.”
“But hopefully the injuries will stay away this season and he’ll be able to get a good run of games in that position.”
The Sharks’ first Super Rugby warm-up match is against the Leopards at the Woodburn Stadium in Pietermaritzburg on Friday. Kick-off is at 19:00.
The Sharks open their 2013 Super Rugby campaign against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Saturday, February 23 at 17:05.