Some rugby moments are unforgettable: Patrick Lambie’s man-of-the-match performance in the Currie Cup final is one of them.
There were 15 Springboks on the field but it was the young flyhalf who grabbed the attention.
Off the field the 20-year-old retreats into his shell like a teenager.
He stares at the ground as reporters fire questions at him but give him a rugby ball though and he comes alive.
“My dad [Ian, also a former Sharks player] encouraged me to just enjoy the game,” he says.
“When you’re having fun you play your best. Now everyone is faster, bigger and stronger but the same holds true. It’s only after a game I realise I should have been scared or intimidated.”
When the Sharks ruthlessly brought down Western Province and their star line-up it was Patrick who launched the attacks – his first try struck WP like a punch early in the match.
When he handed off WP captain Schalk Burger it was lear he wouldn’t be stopped.
That’s how legends are born – and 20-year-olds are selected for the Bok tour to Europe.
“There was nothing going on, no pass available so I tucked the ball under my arm and just went for it.”
Patrick’s remarkable maturity and creativity has made him a success with the Sharks since his debut with them last year.
He’s the grandson of English international Dr Nick Labuschagne and grew up playing against his brother, Nicholas, in their backyard.
“As soon as I could walk I played rugby. Later I played centre for Clifton [Primary, Durban] but I was quite porky and slow and not the biggest guy either so I was easy to catch.”
Things changed in high school at Michaelhouse in KwaZulu-Natal when Patrick played flyhalf for the Under 14 side.
In Grade 11 he made it into the first team, the KwaZulu-Natal Schools team and SA Schools team.
Then in 2009 he signed for the Sharks Academy.
Patrick, who plays fullback, inside centre and flyhalf, is aware of the curse of versatility but admits, “I just want to be the best I can be in each position and the more time I get in each position the easier it will be to decide which I prefer.”
Read more about this promising youngster in YOU, 11 November 2010.