Jake White’s ‘structure’ is music to Pat Lambie’s ears

2014-02-20 00:00

FLYHALF Pat Lambie’s creativity will be key to the Sharks’ hope of landing the much coveted Super Rugby title this season.

Like Steyn in his younger days, Lambie has been shunted around so much from flyhalf to fullback that it was difficult to tell his best position.

But, Jake White announced immediately after he signed on as new Sharks coach that Lambie would play at flyhalf, and only flyhalf, noticing the Michaelhouse Old Boy’s ability to conduct play in the backline. “Jake has given a structure that is necessary at this level. But he’s big on making us ‘read the music’ as he puts it,” Lambie said earlier this week.

During his time with the Springboks, White was big on players thinking on their feet and making decisions according to the situation in front of them, and it’s a way of playing that he’s been trying to get his team to play.

“Jake wants me to read the music and have a go when it’s on,” Lambie said earlier this week. “He wants me to take charge, and control and direct the forwards. I think if I can get better and better with that every week, we’ll be in a good place.”

Lambie also said he enjoyed having Steyn on his outside, and White has said the two have the potential to be a world-class flyhalf-inside centre partnership.

“Frans is a great player and I’m really enjoying playing alongside a big, strong guy on my outside. He plays with freedom and flair, which I think the whole squad feeds off,” he said.

Having started the season on a positive note with a win against the Bulls last weekend, the Sharks will now tackle the Hurricanes who play a completely different kind of game to that of Frans Ludeke’s team.

“They might come with the philosophy of attacking at all costs. I think we might find they’ll run the ball from everywhere. They have some very dangerous backline players and some real game-breakers there. So we’ll have our work cut out for us. I think if you look at their backline, they’re littered with big, strong, fast ball players,” he said.

The danger players who have the ability to hurt White’s men are All Blacks T.J. Perenara, Beauden Barrett, skipper Conrad Smith, Cory Jane and Julian Savea.

“We’ll have to make sure we make our one-on-one tackles, and make sure we nullify their space and time on the ball,” Lambie said.

The Hurricanes are also no slouches up front. Just like the Sharks can start with three Boks in the front row, the Canes can also include three All Blacks in Ben Franks, Dale Coles and Jeffrey Toomaga-Allen.

But, whether those three would be able to stand up to Tendai “Beast” Mtawarira and the brothers du Plessis, Bismarck and Jannie, still has to be seen.

Saturday afternoon’s game at Kings Park will start at 5.05 pm.

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