Richard Ferguson

An open letter to Lambie

Written by Richard Ferguson (Richard Ferguson)

Posted in :Currie Cup, End of Year Tour, Original Content, Sharks on 28 Oct 2013 at 10:22
Tagged with : , , , , , , , , , , ,

Let me start by congratulating the Sharks on a superb game on Saturday evening, and say to the Western Province fans that you have my condolences, we were where you are today, a year ago. Anyway, onto something a bit more important.

Many of you would agree when I say I have been rather negative about Pat Lambie and his form this year. Well, I don’t like being wrong, but in this case, I do not mind having to doff my hat and apologise. Pat, you were awesome bud, and you sure as hell shut me up!

We have seen many a debate on the site where I have stated that Morne Steyn should remain as Springbok flyhalf, purely as no other flyhalf in the country can stand by him. This opinion was based purely on the fact that the Springboks have had a vastly improved season with Steyn at the helm, and he has been reliable with the boot. We have not seen similar form from any other flyhalf, well not until Saturday.

The match was always going to be a battle between the flyhalves, and which of the two would be able to control the game. At the end of the day, it was a mismatch. Demetri Catrakilis struggled behind a pack that was not going anywhere. This was a first for Western Province, this season at least, and they didn’t have another plan. Pat on the other hand, controlled the game beautifully, and with the help of Charl McLeod who took a fair amount of the clearing duties, bossed the opposition half back pairing.

I am going to work a second apology into this letter, one to a certain Frans Steyn. Steyn has been at the wrong end of many a form joke or comment, with the player not having looked like his old self since returning to the Sharks. On Saturday, we saw a mature, and surprisingly fit Steyn, who was a monster on defence! I have not seen Steyn play like that since the last World Cup, and I have to say that I wrote off any impact he would have in the midfield. Again, I don my hat.

The improvement in these two players’ games, which can be accredited to experience or just a willingness to prove the critics wrong, lifted the spirit of the entire team, which led to the Sharks playing an immense game and winning the Cup. (I am in no way saying these two won it by themselves, but their influence has to be material)

I wrote an article questioning which players would play themselves into the Springbok squad last week, and having watched the game, a few times I might add, I can say that my opinion on the Bok flyhalf spot has changed, ever so slightly. I am still of the opinion that Morne Steyn is a good flyhalf, and was the best the Boks had to choose from earlier in the year, but when I look at the way Lambie played, he has to simply get some game time to prove his worth. Surely an argument can be made for Lambie to get at least a start on this tour, and that start NOT be at fullback.

The same can be said about Frans Steyn. Surely he has something to add to the Springbok midfield, even if it is outside Jean de Villiers. JJ Engelbrecht has been great, but there is just another element to Frans Steyn’s play, the ability to act as a loose forward at the breakdown and force a turnover, which would come in quite nicely for the Boks. I like JJ, but I would play Frans ahead of him, especially in Europe, where an extra long boot will add a different edge to the Bok backline. His combination with Jean de Villiers can rotate whether on attack or defence, where Frans can move closer to the breakdown to defend against the bigger loose forwards, while their interplay on attack could add something special, especially if they can put Willie or any other wing into space.

In closing, I just want to congratulate the Sharks coaching staff, who masterminded this Currie Cup victory. For once the Sharks seem to have smart coaches, who are willing to try different things to get want they want, instead of playing the same old tune. So here is three cheers for the team, one for the coaches, one for Lambie and the last for Steyn!


  • well said, i am excitedly anticipating watching etzebeth and du toit becoming the starting locks. What a moster pack we are becoming. The currie cup is unearthing such gems like it always does.

  • Comment 1, posted at 28.10.13 10:31:21 by Dunx Reply
    DunxSuper Rugby player
  • Hip, hip hoorah!!

  • Comment 2, posted at 28.10.13 10:33:42 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
    Assistant coach
  • Nice one Rich.

    Agree with most, except that I haven’t been impressed by JJ.

  • Comment 3, posted at 28.10.13 10:35:37 by Big Fish Reply
    Big FishAssistant coach
  • Venter deserves huge praise for his gameplan on how to unlock the best defensive team in the world, simple kick it behind the backline.

    Also changing from a drift defense to rush defensive caught WP unawares.
    Great tactical game and great execution!

    Hats off to Willem Alberts too, the Bone Collector was back at his bone crushing best!

  • Comment 4, posted at 28.10.13 10:36:45 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
    Assistant coach
  • @Big Fish (Comment 3) :

    JJ did what was expected of him – to be in the backline and tackle the opposition, and chase a kick every now and again.

    Would you agree that he would make a better wing than centre?

  • Comment 5, posted at 28.10.13 10:43:44 by Richard Ferguson Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Administrator
    Richard FergusonCoach
  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 5) :
    He was sterile on attack and not sold enough on defence.

    A wing, yes. But behind Habana, JP, Le Roux, Aplon and Mvovo.

  • Comment 6, posted at 28.10.13 10:53:22 by Big Fish Reply
    Big FishAssistant coach
  • Great article. Thank you my Sharks..what a display. WP was taught a rugby lesson. Now for that elusive Superugby trophy.

  • Comment 7, posted at 28.10.13 10:56:24 by GreatSharksays Reply

    Assistant coach
  • @Big Fish (Comment 6) :

    The Bulls have enough centres, surely he needs to concentrate on playing wing then..

  • Comment 8, posted at 28.10.13 10:59:02 by Richard Ferguson Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Administrator
    Richard FergusonCoach
  • @Big Fish (Comment 6) : @Richard Ferguson (Comment 5) :

    Lost a whole long comment, but I basically agree with Feesh!

  • Comment 9, posted at 28.10.13 11:02:55 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
    Assistant coach
  • I doubt Lambie will get anytime at 10, but the token 10 minutes per game at 15. HM seems to do everything to protect his love child from any healthy competition. Pity about the missed goal kicks because Heyneke will probably use that as an excuse to not give Pat some time at 10.

    I agree Morne is overall the better goal kicker, and for only that reason can I see him being first choice.

  • Comment 10, posted at 28.10.13 11:08:05 by Bokhoring Reply
    BokhoringAssistant coach
  • I would also like Jannie to get a rest, as he has been overplayed. However that probably would not happen against strong scrumming NH teams.

  • Comment 11, posted at 28.10.13 11:09:44 by Bokhoring Reply
    BokhoringAssistant coach
  • :twisted: Pat is on his way up again and shall soon be THE FH!
    Another guy that was constantly dissed was McLeod. When it mattered they were the boys to carry the seasons and score all the points, although I must ad as part of a great team!! :twisted:

  • Comment 12, posted at 28.10.13 11:15:07 by KILLER SHARK Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter
    KILLER SHARKTeam captain
  • sorry to be a damper,but there seemed to be more people at the durban airport to welcome the boys back than at the stadium.why dont durbanites enjoy going to the stadium?

  • Comment 13, posted at 28.10.13 11:15:31 by shasty Reply

  • @shasty (Comment 13) :

    Sad but funny.

  • Comment 14, posted at 28.10.13 11:21:21 by Big Fish Reply
    Big FishAssistant coach
  • maybe they knew there chances of being on tv will triple?said to see venter leave though.

  • Comment 15, posted at 28.10.13 11:28:27 by shasty Reply

  • I’d say start Morné against Wales, Lambie against Scotland (arguably our easiest match) and then play whoever performed best against France. Surely the healthy competition will only make both play better?

  • Comment 16, posted at 28.10.13 11:37:37 by SeanyJMc Reply

    SeanyJMcVodacom Cup player
  • Also, I’m going to the Scotland match and I’d rather like to see Lambie at 10 :mrgreen:

  • Comment 17, posted at 28.10.13 11:38:36 by SeanyJMc Reply

    SeanyJMcVodacom Cup player
  • I’ve never been a fan of Moron Steyn and was really peeved when Pat Lambie only got 5 (maybe 10min) game play under the Springbok coach. I hope now they will sit up and take notice of Pat, before some overseas team lures him away!!

  • Comment 18, posted at 28.10.13 11:45:09 by Debbie Riggien Reply

    Under 21 player
  • The final showed the importance of your forwards getting the upperhand. The Sharks forwards were physical and brutal in the contact situations and thus allowed Lambie some space and time and a player of his quality will always be dangerous if given time. I feel for Catrakilis as i feel that he too is very good if given time on the ball- he could player flatter though. Etzabeth and DuToit are so far ahead of any other locks in this country. Coetzee outplayed Kolisi. Steyn and Ludick were mocked by everyone but they destroyed the WP backs in defense. Id love to see Steyn and Devilliers combine for the Boks with 2 quick wingers. I also dont think Lwazi gets enough credit for the work he does- he has clearly learnt from Odwa and his covering defense, kickign etc has really improved. And he always beats the first defender.

  • Comment 19, posted at 28.10.13 12:03:18 by SheldonK Reply

    SheldonKAssistant coach
  • @Bokhoring (Comment 10) : I honestly cant see Meyer not giving Pat game time at 10, not after his last 2 games – he was that good.

    With regard to his kicking for poles its interesting to note that in the build up to the game Braam van Straaten said that he has seen a flaw in Pats kicking and after the game Naas Botha also noted that he had picked up something wrong with his kicking. These 2 guys can always be approached and Im sure they would be more than willing to help in rectifying anything they have picked up.

  • Comment 20, posted at 28.10.13 12:08:07 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the SubtleAssistant coach
  • overseas players need to be given a clear message to play for the boks requires being based in RSA. Only certain exceptions. But we shall end up having a team of foreign nationalls evertually.

  • Comment 21, posted at 28.10.13 12:13:13 by Dunx Reply

    DunxSuper Rugby player
  • @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 20) : I would be glad to be pleasantly surprised, but I am not very hopeful

  • Comment 22, posted at 28.10.13 12:23:08 by Bokhoring Reply
    BokhoringAssistant coach
  • @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 20) : Sharing of information has never been good in SA. Everyone wants to keep what they know to themselves. I just liked Nicj Mallets comment after the game: If we want to compete with the All Blacks we have to pick second rowers and forwards with the athleticism and skills of PSDT and Etzabeth.

  • Comment 23, posted at 28.10.13 12:26:47 by SheldonK Reply

    SheldonKAssistant coach
  • Lambie is one of my favourite players ever, and I hope he stays forever. But if I was him I wouldve said screw this and left for the UK now. Play for England before Im 26 and be a living legend by 30

  • Comment 24, posted at 28.10.13 13:24:48 by West Indies Cricket Board Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    West Indies Cricket BoardTeam captain
  • Also don’t want us to pick overseas based players else what’s the inventive to play rugby in SA.

  • Comment 25, posted at 28.10.13 13:39:04 by GreatSharksays Reply

    Assistant coach
  • @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 20) : seems as if lambie misses most of his goalkicks when kicking from right-to-left ?perhaps have a look if it really is so?then how to rectify technique.

  • Comment 26, posted at 28.10.13 13:47:16 by 50shadesofblackandwhite Reply

    Under 21 player
  • @GreatSharksays (Comment 25) : personally i want the boks to be as competitive as they can be therefore i have no problem selecting overseas players.

  • Comment 27, posted at 28.10.13 13:49:20 by 50shadesofblackandwhite Reply

    Under 21 player
  • @GreatSharksays (Comment 25) : exactly what ive been saying. HM could kill sa rugby all by himself if this slapgat style continues. Half the top players who recently left, did it because they know they could still be picked. The bok jersey is a HUGE bargaining chip when provinces negotiate with the top players. Now Heyneke, being concerned with only his personal record, has taken that chip away from the likes of John Smit. slapgat, slapgat, slapgat. I never thought I would say this, but I miss Divvy. At least he cared for sa rugby as a whole.

  • Comment 28, posted at 28.10.13 13:57:12 by West Indies Cricket Board Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    West Indies Cricket BoardTeam captain
  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 8) : It takes humility mate so good on you!!!

    Yeah his goalkicking was a tad off on the day, but its that temperament that IS SECOND TO NO ONE!!! Never let it affect his game at all…That is why he has my vote!

    And with humility in mind I have to say well done to Charl and Frans as well!!! I have been bashing both in recent times!

    Whist I still would like to see consistency in Charl’s game, he was brilliant…
    I knew Frans had the talent, but has lacked the commitment in the last two years. If he can stay fit it could be good for us and the Boks…I would have liked to see what he had on attack a bit more but we shall see!!!

  • Comment 29, posted at 28.10.13 14:36:32 by pienaar111 Reply

    pienaar111Currie Cup player
  • And a quick word for LOUIS LUDIK!!!

    He, like Jacques Botes before him, can count himself desperately unlucky if he never receives a Bok call up. He has no weakness…MONSTER on defence, good support runner, good under the high ball, kicks well….(a natural fullback, but still)

    Such an under rated player!!!

  • Comment 30, posted at 28.10.13 14:39:05 by pienaar111 Reply

    pienaar111Currie Cup player
  • @shasty (Comment 13) : As far as I know it doesn’t rain inside the airport ;-)

  • Comment 31, posted at 28.10.13 15:11:46 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
    vanmartinAssistant coach
  • I think something everyone needs to remember is that Lambie is a young player that has this type of style and talent! If you know what he’s got you don’t let it sit and rot on the bench. That’s the worste thing you can do when a young talented player is having a dip in form. There has been so many games this year where Heyneke Meyer could and definately should have give Lambie a start and other games where he should have gotten a proper run. If Morne is the present (and that’s a big if for me personally), then you have to ask yourself who’s the future? Morne is 30. For Meyer not to play Lamie, or as I’ve said in other post before, another young fly-half behind Morne, is closeminded with no view to anything further than the World Cup. That’s not just bad for Lambie, but bad for South African rugby.

    If Heyneke is of the opinion that Morne is the best option, that’s his perogative, but for him not to develop a young player and cover for a very important position, does not make a lot of sense.

    If the young player gets enough game time, he might even show the coach and have an oppertunity to show his critics that he might even be the best option for the position.

  • Comment 32, posted at 28.10.13 15:13:06 by Letgo Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
    LetgoAssistant coach
  • @vanmartin (Comment 31) : So far I know as well wish I could go see the sharks play in the sharktank

  • Comment 33, posted at 28.10.13 15:19:41 by Gerrietheshark Reply

    GerriethesharkUnder 21 player
  • @Gerrietheshark (Comment 33) : A lot of us ex-Natalians wish that! They need to build a Gautrain to Durban!

  • Comment 34, posted at 28.10.13 15:29:06 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
    vanmartinAssistant coach
  • @vanmartin (Comment 34) : I agree on that one then I wont miss a game at the sharktank

  • Comment 35, posted at 28.10.13 15:38:45 by Gerrietheshark Reply

    GerriethesharkUnder 21 player
  • @vanmartin (Comment 34) : it’s in the pipe line, think in about 5 to 10 years from now

  • Comment 36, posted at 28.10.13 15:39:15 by sharks4eve2013 Reply

    sharks4eve2013Under 21 player
  • @sharks4eve2013 (Comment 36) : In that case I’ll be able to take my kid(s) along as well :cool:

  • Comment 37, posted at 28.10.13 15:45:40 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
    vanmartinAssistant coach
  • @vanmartin (Comment 37) : jip and i can’t wait saw pictures of it looks pretty damn impresive 5 star hotel imprecive and reaching speeds of up to 260km\h if i remember correctly and i know there is another design on the cards as well something of a bullet train reaching something stupid like mach 3 in a vacuum

  • Comment 38, posted at 28.10.13 15:52:42 by sharks4eve2013 Reply

    sharks4eve2013Under 21 player
  • Same here could take my wife and kids with

  • Comment 39, posted at 28.10.13 15:55:23 by Gerrietheshark Reply

    GerriethesharkUnder 21 player
  • @pienaar111 (Comment 30) : My honest opinion is that he is still the best fullback in the country by a mile. Even though he has not played there this season.

  • Comment 40, posted at 28.10.13 16:01:37 by Bite me Reply

    Bite meVodacom Cup player

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