Lambie’s future is at flyhalf, says Jake White

2013-11-26 00:00

PAT Lambie’s future is at flyhalf — that is the view of both Heyneke Meyer and new Sharks coach Jake White.

Springbok coach Meyer said he continued to regard Lambie as a flyhalf, although he did start with him at fullback against Wales.

The Springboks returned to Johannesburg yesterday following their successful three-Test tour of Europe, with Meyer confirming that he would continue to make use of overseas-based players next year. The Boks ended the tour with a 19-10 win over France.

Meyer said he would like to see Lambie being used as a flyhalf.

“I really hope Pat can become a great 10 [flyhalf] and that the Sharks play him there.”

White is adamant that Lambie will play only at flyhalf for the Sharks, adding that the player’s career would suffer if he was constantly shunted between positions.

“Pat Lambie is not going to play anywhere else for the Sharks except at flyhalf,” said White.

“I think it is impossible for a player to improve if one week he plays 10 minutes as a fullback and the next week starts as a flyhalf, and after that is on the bench as a utility back.

“Lambie is a very good talent. And because he is so talented, he can actually get messed around. It reminds me a bit when Brent Russell was here.”

White was obviously referring to the way Lambie has been used at Springbok level, because the Sharks did not field him at fullback this year.

First in Super Rugby under John Plumtree and then under Brendan Venter in the Currie Cup, Lambie was used exclusively at flyhalf with Louis Ludik, Riaan Viljoen and S.P. Marais playing at fullback.

White said that Lambie could prove a point with the Sharks.

“If the Sharks win everything, it is going to be very hard for the Boks not to pick him at flyhalf.

“Whatever the national coaches do is up to them. But I know what role he is going to play at the Sharks, and I’m going to give him confidence in the way that we coach him and the way he plays for the Sharks. At least he can get his head around the fact that he will play in that position and improve every single week.”

The Sharks’ Springboks will have the next few weeks off before returning to training early in January.

“The squad currently training had three weeks off after the Currie Cup and will have a further two weeks over Christmas, totalling five weeks off,” said White.

“The Boks join the rest of the squad on January 6 and we will play a friendly against Saracens later that month.”

Meanwhile, Meyer paid tribute to the influence the overseas-based players had on the Springbok touring squad.

“I wouldn’t have been able to manage without guys like J.P. Pietersen, Bryan Habana, Morné Steyn, Fourie du Preez and Jaque Fourie,” he said.

Meyer is hoping to arrange a national planning camp to plot the way forward and take Springbok rugby to the next level.

He said that tactical kicking and conditioning were the two areas where the Springboks needed to improve.

“New Zealand came together in 2009 after the All Blacks lost three times to the Springboks. They came to the conclusion that they could only beat us with better tactical kicking.

“If you look at the game at Ellis Park [earlier this year], they kicked 42 times and we kicked 21 times. We broke the line 19 times and scored four tries. They broke through seven times and scored five tries.”

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