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Sharks playing cards close to chest


HAMILTON — There has been no news among the snippets of information that have come out of the Sharks since they set up camp in Coogee in Sydney, about who will be marking Sonny Bill Williams in Saturday’s Vodacom Super Rugby final against the Chiefs in Hamilton.

The Sharks flew across the Tasman Sea yesterday on the final leg of their journey into the time zones — they were eight hours ahead of South Africa in Sydney, they will be 10 ahead now — having successfully given their opponents no indication of who will line up in the No 12 jersey in the decider, now that Tim Whitehead has been ruled out.

The Sharks were able to operate under the radar in Coogee, not that they did much training, as the emphasis this week has been on just trying to refresh after all the travelling.

But unless coach John Plumtree is going to risk the suspect defence of Meyer Bosman in the position, they may need some time to work together, as the other options involve players playing out of position.

The smart money at the moment appears to be on Plumtree selecting Patrick Lambie at inside centre.

That would kill two birds with one stone, as it were, as Lambie is too talented to leave out, but Louis Ludik has done well at fullback when he has played there, and on the wing when he has been moved there, and Frederic Michalak is an in-form match-winner at flyhalf.

Having Lambie and Michalak together in the all-important flyhalf/centre, decision-making axis would certainly add greatly to the Sharks’ attacking potential. But it should be the defensive requirements that concern Plumtree, as he weighs up his options.

The team was to have been announced later yesterday morning South African time.

Lambie never shirks anything when required to defend, but he is significantly smaller than the big Chiefs centres and there is much more of a stress on being physical and defending than there is in other positions that he is used to.

He did perform well at inside centre though when selected there during his first Currie Cup season.

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