England in SA
Lambie's chance to shine
Patrick Lambie (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - The saying "one man’s loss is another man’s gain" rings true for Springbok rugby fullback Patrick Lambie, as he received a starting berth for Saturday’s Test against England in the place of Zane Kirchner.
Springbok mentor Heyneke Meyer said it was up to Lambie to take ownership of the No 15 jersey.
"I am really looking forward to see him play; it was an easy decision. He's played there, he's been the guy who's been in form," said Meyer on Wednesday.
"I am always sorry for the guys who are injured, but it is up to Patrick now to show he wants to stay there."
Meyer caused somewhat of an outcry when he selected Kirchner ahead of Lambie for the first Test in Durban.
Lambie replaced Kirchner late in the first half of the match and has impressed the Bok coach, earning a place in the starting line-up.
"Patrick is a great player, he is still a youngster. People sometimes don't realise he is still only 22-years-old."
Meyer explained he opted for Kirchner in the first Test because of combinations, but was impressed with the attacking edge Lambie provided.
"I thought he was superb in the second half when he came on. He brings different attacking options to the party and I was very impressed in training this week, where he showed some brilliant touches on the ball," said Meyer.
"I think he will bring something different to the backline."
Lambie said his task in the first Test was to make an impact off the bench and hoped to do the same throughout the 80 minutes on Saturday.
"I'm very excited about it; obviously, it is always a huge honour to represent your country," Lambie said.
"I'm excited about the challenge and I'm really looking forward to it."
With the youngster covering the last line of defence, he said he was up for the challenge, even if the English opted for an aerial attack.
"I will be ready for it if it comes. We have a feeling that England will be looking to run a little bit more, but whatever they throw at us I think we will be prepared."
Even though Lambie is one of the smaller players in the side, Meyer said he rated him as a strong defender.
The versatile player, who has represented the country at flyhalf, inside centre and fullback, said he was still not sure which position he preferred.
"I really enjoyed playing at flyhalf for the Sharks this year, but it is great to be back at fullback. I love the space and being able to read the game from the back, so I'm looking forward to some more time in the number 15 jersey."
15 Pat Lambie, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Jean de Villiers (captain), 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Pierre Spies, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Juandré Kruger, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Beast Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Werner Kruger , 18 Flip van der Merwe, 19 Keegan Daniel, 20 Ruan Pienaar, 21 Wynand Olivier, 22 Bjorn Basson