Lambie to be Bok flyhalf

2012-11-01 00:00

COACH Heyneke Meyer confirmed yesterday that the Sharks’ Pat Lambie would be used at flyhalf on the Springboks’ tour of the United Kingdom while Jaco Taute is likely to take over from Zane Kirchner at fullback.

The Springboks gathered in Cape Town yesterday to prepare for the three-Test tour of Ireland, Scotland and England and Meyer outlined his tour plans at a media conference.

Meyer said that he had been impressed with Lambie’s Currie Cup form in recent weeks and he would be given the opportunity to nail down the flyhalf berth during the Tests although he had been named as a fullback when the tour squad was announced.

This means that Meyer is travelling with three flyhalves — Lambie, Elton Jantjies and Morné Steyn — and it is expected that he will rotate them during the Tests.

The Bok coach said that Lambie had proved himself at flyhalf in Super Rugby — “but I want to use this tour to see what Pat can do at Test level”.

Meyer told reporters that he has spoken openly to Lambie about the improvements he needed to make to his game.

“Your flyhalf has to be a good tactical kicker and he showed me in the Currie Cup that he has done the necessary work and I have been very impressed.”

While Lambie, previously considered by Meyer as a specialist fullback, is tipped to start at flyhalf against Ireland on November 10, Taute could be switched from centre to fullback.

“I would love to see Jaco at the back,” said Meyer. “He offers something different, and I would like to give him a chance as a number 15. His future is at fullback and I have told him that. But we have had injury problems so I used him at centre [in the Rugby Championship].”

Meyer suggested that Taute’s switch to fullback could result in Juan de Jongh, who scored the only try in the Currie Cup final, linking up with captain and provincial team-mate Jean de Villiers in the midfield.

While hooker Adriaan Strauss (knee) and Bath flank Francois Louw (neck) have been cleared to tour, De Villiers’ hamstring strain is still being assessed though team doctor Craig Roberts said he is expecting him to be passed fit.

Meyer highlighted the many injuries amongst key Springboks and again made a call for a national contracting system which would allow him to rest elite players.

“New Zealand get it right from a player management point of view, resting players like Richie McCaw and Dan Carter. We have to look at that as a way forward otherwise we will never be the top team in the world,” he said.

“Our top players simply cannot play Currie Cup, Super Rugby and Test matches. Their lives also suffer because they are never at home. We are going to lose more players to overseas teams if this doesn’t change.”

He said one day he hoped to be able to pick a backline which included Bryan Habana and Frans Steyn (both injured) along with Jaque Fourie and Fourie du Preez (both unavailable).

“When you have to bring in new players all the time, you have to go back to doing the basics.”

Meyer said he was hoping to add a 32nd player — expected to be Northhampton tighthead Brian Mujati — to the touring squad if he could gain the necessary clearance while locks Bakkies Botha (Toulon) and Marco Wentzel (London Wasps) are on standby.

Meyer also defended himself against criticism that the Boks had kicked too much and were too conservative in their approach.

He said that he had made mistakes and would take the criticism when it was warranted.

“But the one criticism I sometimes feel is unjust is that we kick too much. In all six Test matches we played in the Rugby Championship, we kicked less than our opponents.”

He said that most of the Test matches they had lost this year could have been won with accurate goal-kicking.

“That is something we must get right. I’m also keen to see some of the overseas-based players we’ve pulled in, especially the forwards, who are still young enough to potentially play in the 2015 World Cup.

“I also need to see which of our young players are tough enough to win away from home in very different and difficult conditions.”

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