robdylan

Lambie at 10… the best is yet to come


Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Springboks, Super Rugby on 3 Dec 2012 at 12:41
Tagged with : , , , , , , ,

If I gather together all the various bits and pieces of stuff that have been said over the last few weeks relating to Pat Lambie, I reckon the chances that he’ll once again be forced into a utility role in 2013 (and beyond) have diminished substantially.

I had the opportunity to catch up with Pat himself after the Bok game against England, one in which, I’m told, he came perilously close to grabbing the man of the match award which was eventually given to Duane Vermeulen instead. Now before we get too deeply into what he said, let’s just take a few moments to reflect on where Pat found himself at the end of the Rugby Championship; languishing on the Bok bench as replacement fullback and unable to get any meaningful game time even as a sub, far less a starter in any position. Coach Meyer, according to what we’d heard, simply didn’t rate his tactical kicking game highly enough to risk playing him at pivot and furthermore, stuck doggedly to the excuse that “the Sharks themselves don’t see Lambie as a flyhalf”.

How rapidly things have changed in just a few months, though. Lambie went on to star for the Sharks in the Currie Cup – at pivot – and what’s more, recorded a trio of encouraging performances for the Boks in that very position in their first unbeaten overseas tour in many years. While there’s been the inevitable grumbling about “the game plan crimping his natural style”, the reality is that Lambie has stepped up and shown, week by week, big improvements in his tactical kicking game, to the extent that he’s managed to convince his harshest critic – Mr Meyer himself – that he’s now a viable option as a test flyhalf. This is good news for the man who now has a proper taste for test rugby and wants to play as many more games as he can, in the flyhalf position.

In fact, that struck me as unusual; the general tone at the Bok press conference after Twickenham was one of relief and exhaustion. Players and coaches alike were elated that they’d managed to haul their tired bodies through one last gruelling hoop before some much-needed rest – all except for the boy-faced flyhalf who told me that he wished there were more games for him to play. Perhaps there’s a wider lesson here, in terms of rest and rotation during a long season, but let’s not digress from the point at hand.

I asked Pat whether he was concerned that he might “lose ground” in terms of the Bok flyhalf race, when going back to the Sharks and perhaps being expected to play a different style of rugby. He didn’t seem overly perturbed at the thought, though, stating that the improvements in his all-round game since playing at 10 for the Boks were something that would only add to what he can do and would benefit the Sharks as well. He added that the great thing about rugby is that there’s always something more to learn and it sort of hit home to me that while we’re all very quick to tout “SuperPat” as the perfect flyhalf, he’s still only 22 and inevitably has a lot of improving still to do as he gets older. He’s shown the coaches what he can do and that he can be trusted to manage a game at the highest level; 2013, I reckon, is going to be the year in which Pat Lambie really “kicks on” as a flyhalf and starts to leave competitors in his wake.

Some of the other scribes raised the question about whether the Sharks wouldn’t now be tempted to move him back to fullback and I like to think he treated that suggestion with the contempt it deserved; he reckons that his lines with John Plumtree have been open all along and that the Sharks coach has made it very clear that Lambie is his first-choice flyhalf, on a number of occasions. He disputed the view that the Sharks have used him “mostly as a fullback” this year, which seems to be one of those phrases that the detractors like to haul out and pointed out that he was only used there when returning from injury in midyear.

In summary, I’m going into the Christmas break with a light and happy heart, knowing that whatever else befalls the Sharks in 2013, they’re at least going to benefit from a rejuvenated, improved Pat Lambie at flyhalf. Further more, a man hungry as hell for as much top rugby as he can get and also determined to retain his position as incumbent Springbok flyhalf once the 2013 international season gets under way.



7 Comments

  • Nice!!

  • Comment 1, posted at 03.12.12 13:37:27 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
    Assistant coach
     
  • ANybody know when the Sharks 7′s team is being announced for the George 7′s next weekend?

    Also keen to see who WP/Stormers will be sending.

  • Comment 2, posted at 03.12.12 14:14:17 by ChrisS Reply
    Author
    ChrisSSuper Rugby player
     
  • Cheers to the best all round flyhalf South Africa has produced since Butch :lol:

    Cue Hendrikp ; “Look ,I rate the guy, the same way I rate Daniel & the Beast (/there are enough Sharks in the team for my liking/),but I see one obstacle in his way ,Johan Goosen”

    No one seems to remember that one fateful game where the Sharks were getting a rogering from Goos and the Cheetahs in the first half ,oh how that changed when Lambie moved to 10…

  • Comment 3, posted at 03.12.12 15:18:47 by Talent Reply
    Author
    TalentCurrie Cup player
     
  • These guys has me very excited for next year:

    10. Lambie
    12. F Steyn (Whitehead off the bench)
    13. Jordaan
    15. Ludik

  • Comment 4, posted at 03.12.12 15:58:27 by FireTheLooser Reply

    Assistant coach
     
  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 4) : I’m playing Whitehead at 13 with Jordaan to bench

  • Comment 5, posted at 03.12.12 16:27:00 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
    robdylanHead Coach
     
  • @robdylan (Comment 5) : But that sleek passing of Whitehead has so much more impact at 12 – sadly he’ll never start ahead of Steyn.

    But if Steyn can create something for Whitehead, he’ll be able to put JP/Mvovo or Ludik into space. Could work, just afraid that he’ll never get much ball from Steyn.

  • Comment 6, posted at 03.12.12 16:43:52 by FireTheLooser Reply

    Assistant coach
     
  • My backline would be

    15 Ludik
    14 JPP
    13 Jordaan
    12 Steyn
    11 Mvovo
    10 Lambie
    09 Reinach

    Bench
    Mcleod, Butch, Whitehead

    rotation backup, Odwa, Bosman, Viljoen, Sithole, Hoffman

    Games we know are A near certainty we should play some of the fringe players,

    Reason I would start Jordaan ahead of Whitehead is 2 fold, Pace which Tim does not have much of to play 13 and I reckon the Steyn/Jordaan combo could become the best in SA next year JOrdaan running into spaces off Steyn could be a sight to behold I reckon.

    I am not sure we should be playing Fransie and tim as a combo all the time as they are pretty much the same kind of center, JOrdaan is the speedster you want running good lines, attacking the spaces and not running over defenders as a Steyn or Whitehead would

  • Comment 7, posted at 03.12.12 16:45:10 by sharks_lover Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    sharks_loverAssistant coach
     

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