Lambie has ‘grown a lot’

2013-02-27 00:00

PAT Lambie believes that his experience as Springbok flyhalf last year has transformed him tactically and he is hoping a fresh awareness will help the Sharks overcome the Stormers in their Super Rugby derby at King’s Park on Saturday night.

The 22-year-old — who was Heyneke Meyer’s first-choice flyhalf on the Springbok tour of the UK last November — said he had “grown a lot” as a result.

Lambie, who joined his coach John Plumtree at a media briefing at King’s Park yesterday, said he was now better prepared as a flyhalf.

“I believe I have a better understanding of the game from a tactical perspective, when to run and when to kick,” he said.

“I try to get my eyes up to see space behind [the opposing backs] rather than just the space in front. Against the Stormers, that will be important.

“The Bulls’ tactical kicking [against the Stormers at Loftus on Friday night] was on song and they got reward for that.”

Lambie produced a faultless display against the Cheetahs at the weekend ●— kicking 19 points in the 29-22 win.

The quietly-spoken Lambie said that he had worked long hours with Springbok kicking coach Louis Koen last year.

“It was great for me and I really enjoyed it. He challenged us every week with different kicking tactics, different drills in different areas and he also focused on the mental side of things, which was beneficial for me.”

Lambie said that irrespective of the weather, the Sharks were preparing to play with a slippery ball on Saturday night.

“Here in Durban, at this time of the year, it is hot and humid and the ball is even more slippery than when it’s raining,” he added.

“But those are the conditions we train in all the time so it might be to our advantage. Last year it probably rained more often than not for our home games, so we were exposed to those conditions.”

Lambie said he was also benefiting from having the strongly-built Frans Steyn, his captain, alongside him at inside centre.

“It’s a huge advantage and I’m really enjoying playing with him. He’s a great guy and enthusiastic.

“I know that I can shovel the bad balls over to him under pressure and he’ll get over the advantage line or kick the ball 60 metres downfield.”

The debate over whether Lambie should be at flyhalf or fullback is an ongoing one, but Plumtree is convinced he is a natural number 10.

“I’m really enjoying playing flyhalf. I love always being in the game and having to make decisions.

“I’m also enjoying focusing on one position and I really want to make that position my own,” said Lambie.

The Sharks flyhalf said that the key to success against the Stormers was to convert pressure and field position into points.

Plumtree said he was delighted with the early-season form of his flyhalf, saying: “Pat is going really well. There is a strong challenge in South Africa for the flyhalf position and a lot of talk about it.

“There is always a lot of pressure on the flyhalf, but Paddy has the calm demeanour needed for that position.

“He’s growing in his communication with the team which is vital and you can’t underestimate the importance of his tactical kicking and goal kicking. It was outstanding on the weekend and probably the difference in the end.

“It is a process, but he’s getting there. If he can avoid the injuries, we’ll have a much better product by the end of Super Rugby which will be great for the Springboks.”

But Plumtree emphaised that it was crucial that the forwards delivered the quality ball he needed to control the flow of the game from flyhalf.

The Sharks coach said that a number of players, among them Lwazi Mvovo, Jean Deysel and Meyer Bosman, had taken knocks during the win over the Cheetahs.

“But they have all been training and will be available for selection.”

The match kicks off at 7.05 pm on Saturday and Jonathan Kaplan will again be the referee.

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