Lambie in it for the long haul

2011-09-26 22:26

Comment: Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer

Cape Town - His is one of the freshest faces at the 2011 World Cup, but Pat Lambie is looking more and more like a regular part of the tournament’s “furniture”.

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Certainly if the Springboks manage - touch wood - to go all the way to the final for a second time on the trot, the 20-year-old must be heavily favoured now to take to the Eden Park turf in the No 15 jersey for his country ... or at least hog that spot for as long as South Africa retain an interest in the competition.

Lambie started this World Cup, let’s not forget, a bit more peripherally, because smart money suggested the preferred “first team” midfield combination for the Boks would be the settled Stormers alliance of Jean de Villiers and Jaque Fourie, with versatile Frans Steyn similarly entrusted with first-choice status at fullback.

But the jinxed De Villiers reluctantly departed through injury after only 24 minutes of the Boks’ heart-stopping opener against Wales, leading to a strategic shift next time around against Fiji which saw Steyn summoned closer to the action at No 12 - and in his two outings there thus far, the Racing Metro player has been one of the revelations of RWC 2011.

And while Steyn has earned many of the laurels for the Boks’ attacking rejuvenation against both Fiji and Namibia, Lambie has quietly yet also efficiently profited handsomely by filling the void in the last line.

The side announced by coach Peter de Villiers on Monday for the final Pool D fixture against Samoa at North Harbour on Friday again features Lambie at the back and, considering that the starting XV appears to very closely resemble a line-up the coach would field if the final were played in the next day or two, the former Michaelhouse head boy is destined to go all the way now.

Lambie is an entirely different (yes, perhaps that should read: inferior) physical beast to Steyn, whose height and brawn were initially viewed as comforting assets for the No 15 chore.

Yet it must be a tribute, in some ways, to the Durban-born customer’s coolness and tenacity - despite being at 1.77m the shortest man in the Bok XV against the legendarily uncompromising Samoans - that Lambie is presently considered a highly suitable alternative as Steyn struts his stuff nearer the heavy traffic.

Fairly predictably then, the fit-again De Villiers stays in the relative cold for Friday’s date, where the Boks probably just need a lone point to put their passage to the knockout phase beyond doubt - but he does claim a spot on another backline-light Bok bench, so may well get to see some action in a likely rough-and-tumble meeting.

The split is 5-2 in favour of forwards, with a full front row available as substitutes once more, which bears out match-day captain Victor Matfield’s statement that “hopefully we can put pressure on them at the set-piece”.

In some respects De Villiers is an attractive reserve because he can operate in midfield or at wing, whilst fellow sub Francois Hougaard also covers more than one position with nonchalant ease.

Of course if anything were to happen to Morné Steyn, either of Lambie or Frans Steyn could slot in at flyhalf pretty seamlessly.

The team picked for the Samoan challenge contains notably few surprises, although in the healthy little ding-dong between Gurthro Steenkamp and Tendai Mtawarira for first rights to the loosehead prop position, it is “Beast’s” opportunity to be the beneficiary of “rotation” between the two - he teams up in the front row with old Sharks buddies in the shape of the Du Plessis brothers.

Arguably the two players under the most pressure to perform slickly on Friday will be two veterans of the 2007 triumph, Bryan Habana and Fourie du Preez, both of them intriguingly under pressure from one man, the hugely hungry Hougaard, for either of their positions.


South Africa:
15 Pat Lambie, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Jaque Fourie, 12 Frans Steyn 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Fourie du Preez, 8 Pierre Spies, 7 Schalk Burger, 6 Heinrich Brüssow, 5 Victor Matfield (captain), 4 Danie Rossouw, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.

Substitutes: 16 John Smit, 17 Gurthrö Steenkamp, 18 CJ van der Linde, 19 Willem Alberts, 20 Francois Louw, 21 Francois Hougaard, 22 Jean de Villiers.


* Click HERE for the latest RWC odds on BET.CO.ZA


  • Eugene - 2011-09-26 22:49

    Very strong team. Bokke by 45.

      vynjan - 2011-09-26 23:09

      only if Habana goes off early and Hougaard comes on ! - 2011-09-27 03:53

      There have been so many RWC records broken lately. If Pierre Spies can just go just one more game without making any tackles, we will have another one.

      Sparkys - 2011-09-27 06:53

      Clark Kent....AB,s new Haka is called the Hockey Pockey!!

      Pikkie - 2011-09-27 07:46

      Clark Kent. Who is the Proteas. Am I living in another world or is the bokke playing in NZ. Cricket only start in a months time.

      Johnny-BB - 2011-09-27 09:06

      Pikkie, ....wake up ..!! ...the Springbok was replaced by the Protea.. ...look carefully and you will see NO springbok on their chests....

  • Blou - 2011-09-26 23:11

    Great team.....!!! But still Brian over Hougie? I don't understand that??

  • Boetman - 2011-09-26 23:18

    This team could go all the way. Just add Hougaard and mix aggresively.

      Timothy - 2011-09-27 02:27

      I dont understand why everyone is calling for brians head. The poor chap has done nothing wrong this whole world cup, he works extremely hard and was one of our star performers against namibia. One of the sky sports commentators praised habbana and said it is experience that wins you world cups. I agree, and that is what we have at the moment in the form of John Smit, Habbana, Jean devilliers, Fourie etc. Houghaard will have to wait until next year to make the wing position his own, Also im not comfortable with Lamby at the back, he is a brilliant player, but he is not experienced enough....will he buckle under the pressure in a final or semi-final having only played 9 caps? I would rather bring Jean back at centre and move frans to fullback. On a slightly different note I would like to praise Morne Steyn he has been distributing the ball superbly well and his attacking game is on par with the likes off Dan Carter. Go Bokke!

      DikWielFiets - 2011-09-27 07:32

      @Timothy - Brian hasn't done too much wrong, but he hasn't done too much right either. Every time Hougaard comes on, you immediately see a difference in the energy levels. For JdV back to centre? Please no!!! For once now that Frans is there, the backline is starting to play the ball. Creating opportunities and the ball is actually getting to the wings. Not to mention his defense is massive. Keep JdV on the bench and play him at wing if you must.

      Delano - 2011-09-27 08:01

      @boetman - all of u want Habana out but conveniently overlook FDP`s poor play behind the scrum. Dubble standards as per usual from SA fans.

      Travis - 2011-09-27 08:39

      @Timothy...I agree with the concept of experience, but there is a limit. I don't think that Habana is doing very well at all, and is looking flustered and desperate - not the signs of an experience campaigner that he is. I am not in agreement with you about Morne Steyn. While I think that it is the best thing to retain him at number 10, I think that his defence is poor at best, and he is nowhere near the flyhalf that Dan Carter is. He has a job in the team, and that is to pin his opponents back with his boot. I think if Lambie had a reliable boot, he would be at 10 ahead of M Steyn. Talking of Lambie...I agree that he is untested, but I think that we get greater benefit from having Frans at 12 than 15, so keep him there. Lambie will not let us down. I also think that FDP has been poor behind the scrum, but I don't think that Hougaard is the answer. I want him on at wing. He is not technically sound at scrummie, and that is a very technical position. He is awesome at wing, and brings that scrummie role onto the field to clear rucks quickly but keep him on wing...he is devastating.

      InternetMan - 2011-09-27 08:42

      Its not so much calling for Brian's head as it is calling for Hougard's inclusion Timothy.

  • First48 - 2011-09-26 23:23

    Great article, thank you.

  • Samurai Demo - 2011-09-26 23:34

    BIG SHOW and mark henry at prop and kane and undertaker at lock.

  • Emile Desfontaines - 2011-09-26 23:36

    Cheers to that - Great article

  • Neilson - 2011-09-26 23:41

    All Hougaard's tries come from playing on the wing. I don't think FdP position is in any danger. Habanna's position is in danger because his inside centre (aka. Schalk Burger) don't know how to pass a ball to a wing.

  • Magmansa - 2011-09-27 01:24

    Dear Pat I know you probably wont read this, but by some chance if you do I have one piece of advice for you. When you run with the ball, please hold on to it for just a fraction longer, draw your man in THEN pass. I know your are trying to be unselfish, but if you can get just this one little part of your game right, I do believe you will be an elite fullback. Best of luck for saturday!! Your fan Magman

  • James - 2011-09-27 02:58

    Personally, I think Lambie has been over-rated. He has done nothing to impress. I don't believe any team in the RWC think he is a danger man and he certainly does not look like it on the field yet. Yes, he is better than Habana, but thats not difficult at the moment. He will grow with the tournament and I truly hope that after Fridays game my opinion of him will be changed. I agree with Eugene...Bokke by 45

      Rolie - 2011-09-27 07:01

      @James - you are not watching enough rugby to form an opinion on Lambie. He is an honest to goodness gifted player as well as fearless tackler who gives more than 100% whenever he plays.

      FaultyZN - 2011-09-27 07:18

      There is a general feeling among players and commentators that Lambie is a fantastic player. Clearly you know better, James. For me, the best thing about him playing full-back is that Steyn is playing center instead of old man de Villiers. He was once a great player but just does not measure up in the fast game that is being played today.

      James - 2011-09-27 07:28

      @Rolle - I dont recall meeting you that you know what I do in my private life, so what makes you think that I cannot form an opinion and you can? I would not hesitate to say that my toenail has seen more rugby than you. So lighten up and read the comment properly before pulling the shutters down

      Rolie - 2011-09-27 08:03

      @James - Your toenail should know better! Don't let the ego get the better of you.

      James - 2011-09-27 08:30 said it!

      1stcase - 2011-09-27 08:30

      @ Rolie, Please read before you comment. There is such a thing as constructive criticism.

  • Clark Kent - 2011-09-27 03:49

    Love the meaning of the Protea Flower Diversity ,and Courage still waiting to see either of them in this Bok Team. Believe it should be recatagorised to mean sepratism,and ineptness With its mythological associations to change and transformation, it’s not surprising that in the language of flowers, protea symbolizes diversity and courage

      The Hock - 2011-09-27 07:51


      Shistirrer - 2011-09-27 11:10

      In South Africa we read "Huisgenoot" and it's English counterpart "You". There is now a New Zealand edition of the magazine, called "Ewe".

      poorwhite - 2011-09-27 13:59

      please people ignore Clark Kent, he wears his underpants on the outside and he supports a team with a little old fern as emblem!

  • TC - 2011-09-27 03:57

    Bokke by 45! Hope you're right, but methinks this is going to go the other way. This side beat the ozzies recently. We've had 2 soft games and think we are good. Watch out bokke!

  • sasa - 2011-09-27 04:58

    @ Clark Kent Protea standards? The SA rugby team is called the Springboks. Maybe you are in the wrong section, click on 'cricket' if you are looking for the Proteas.

      Buffalo - 2011-09-27 05:51

      sasa - just ignore it - then it will go away.

      Johnny-BB - 2011-09-27 09:02

      sasa, ....wake up ..!! ...the Springbok was replaced by the Protea.. ...look carefully. and you will see NO springbok on their chests....

      kosie - 2011-09-27 14:00

      @johnny:the only reason there is no bok on the shirts is because IRB wanted to make place for their logo. the protea is the sports emblem of SA,doesn't mean they are called the proteas, same like bafana also have the protea but they are still bafana. the amakroko also have the emblem but still they are the amakroko and so i can carry on.

  • Theo - 2011-09-27 06:10

    I thought we were going to rest Smit, unless he is going to play prop .

      James - 2011-09-27 06:46

      I say leave him on the wing where he is usually hanging around trying to get his breath back

      Dave - 2011-09-27 08:30

      They have rested him, he is on the bench along with 2 props. You chaps of short memories. Smit is on the bench because Victor (the captain) is unlikely to complete the game. If the Boks are well ahead when Victor goes off Smit will probably stay on the sidelines till the last 5 or 10. If however the Boks are in trouble, Captain Smit will come on to steady the ship. Remember 1st Test 2009 against the Lions. Smit went off, the wheels came off and we almost lost. They brought Smit back on, he scolded his team mates and we won.

  • Al-Meister - 2011-09-27 06:45

    What a team! Let's hope there are no serious injuries from this game... Good luck boys. You've made us proud so far, keep it up.

  • Dawie - 2011-09-27 07:02

    I have never been a great fan of PDV, but i want to give him credit for the changes he is making and bringing amnew perspective to the team.I still dont think he knows the most about the game but he is surrounded by very good talent that will makeup that voight.I believe he brings teamwork and I know it takes a special talent to make 22 highly rated palyers for that well done divvie.Habanna has done nothing wrong I agree but he also hasn't done a lot of great either where as Hougaard brings that flair that we need as in the case with JDV, I still thunk he is agreat palyere but Steyn just tend to bring that something different and fresh to the 12 jersey.For the 1st time this RWC I feel we really have a shot at bringing the cup home.............................Please do resond on the following: I feel Fourie du preez is experienced but I also think he is costing us a lot of momentum on the attack, especially when he is looking for a debate with the ref during play.I know he's positional play is good in the sense that he is alwyas the reciever of the ball when the ball is kicked to the back but this posses the question wher will he be if Brussow had to take a turnover at the ruck and we wanted to attack?

  • What de D... - 2011-09-27 07:13

    Bokke by 50 cos John Smith isn't there....

      Hannes van der Linde - 2011-09-27 07:46

      Hey ease up Dev, the difference is marginal. Plus, he's probably right.

      Dev and Ilze Britton - 2011-09-27 07:52

      Ease up nothing!!! John Smit has given almost a decade of his life to the Boks and he deserves the utmost respect!! He is a fantastic player and the best Captain we have ever had. Certainly a far better Captain than Matfield will ever be!! Saying that the Boks will only win because he's not playing is a personal stab at one of South Africa's greatest sportsmen and ambassadors and I for one think it's disgusting!!!

      Ek Alweer - 2011-09-27 08:13

      I agree with you Ilze. He has given a decade of his life, and he deserves respect. But he is now fat, slow, and unfit, and he has nothing more to give! I'll give him even more respect, if he hangs up his boots now.

      Travis - 2011-09-27 08:50

      I am with you Dev. I think Smit has had a great tournament so far, and those that are hating him are not showing an honest view of his input in the games so far. I would keep him as the starting hooker for the play-offs. He is not fat, and he is not slow. He is putting in great runs, and made 3 try-scoring passes last week. Add to that the fact that all those that know him (not all of us armchair critics) speak very highly of his ability to change matches for us by his people managment and motivational skills. I am hoping that he can bring the trophy back just to rub it in the faces of those that doubted. Only thing is that he is too humble and too much of an ambassador for our country to behave like that. Go bokke...all the way.

      Hannes van der Linde - 2011-09-27 08:56

      I agree with the fact that he deserves respect for everything that he has done for South African Rugby. He is indeed a great leader and role model to younger aspiring springboks. But what I also believe is the he was saying that we were going to win by a bigger margin because he is not there, not win because he is not there. This is a world cup, not just a 3N that comes around every year. As John Plumtree and Allister Coetzee said last night on "Masterplan NZ"... At some stage some hard choices are going to have to be made and all sentiment would have be thrown to the dogs as the FORM players needs to be selected and they specifically referred to Hooker, the Midfield, Scrummy and Wing. Because John Smit, Jean De Villiers, Brian Habana and Fourie du Preez are not on form. So either they don't know what they are talking about, they don't respect these players, haven't got a clue what John has done for SA rugby or they are being objective with regards to our chances of actually retaining the trophy.

      vdwjasper - 2011-09-27 09:57

      Dev, everyone has their own opinion. Personally, I think that "TWAT"'s and "buffoon"'s are unnecessary in any constructive argument. Lacks class. Also, I honestly feel that Bismarck should be the run-on 2, with Schalk Brits coming on after the first sixty. But that's just my humble opinion. Are you going to call me a twat too? Most international reporters feel that Smit is off the pace - not just me and Whatever. . Most rugby lovers want to see only the best players on the field. Smit made his bed when he decided to put himself on the shelf when he is clearly past his sell-by date. Daar is 'n sê-ding in Afrikaans: "As jy jouself uitgee vir 'n stukkie biltong, moet jy nie moan as daar aan jou gesny word nie...".

      Johnny-BB - 2011-09-27 12:11

      ..grandpa Smit is a has-been paloooooka...!! .....Matfield a far better captain.... ....................................PDV + Smit = bye-bye world cup...

  • Brannas - 2011-09-27 07:20

    It's good to see JDV is out, now get rid of Banana, JF and Schalk Burger and replace them with Bull players, stormer has been and quota players suck.

      Zeus vdm - 2011-09-27 07:28

      Catch a wake up this the RWC not currie cup, its not wp or stormers against bulls, "GOOI BOKKE"

      Staalbal - 2011-09-27 08:11

      Jy is 'n sad ou mannetjie wat te veel met horings speel, haal af jou blou brilletjies en ondersteun die bokke of hou jou bek.

      Sparkys - 2011-09-27 08:14

      Yes get rid of Schalk for Spies.I mean Spies is by far the best tackler in the side.I dont think their has ever been a player in the history of the Bokke that can defend like Spies.Spies has the best side step in the game........when someone is running towards him holding the ball!!!!!!LOL

  • poorwhite - 2011-09-27 07:54

    please people ignore Clark Kent, he wears his underpants on the outside and he supports a team with a little old fern as emblem!

  • Nicky - 2011-09-27 08:07

    Well at least you can't say PDV isn't loyal to his older players.

  • MaestroX - 2011-09-27 08:32

    Hmmm I'm not that convinced yet about Lambie, I have seen signs of a fantastic player in the Super 15 but as a Bok I have yet to see it. The games he has played so far he has been solid but very quick to off-load the ball as soon as he has got it. It’s almost if he has the attitude if I pass it immediately I can't be blamed for doing anything wrong. Watch the games he has played so far, as soon as he fields a kick or gets the ball he doesn't even think to run, draw an opponent and pass, he immediately passes it to the nearest man which isn't of any value whatsoever. If he wants to make an impact for the Boks he needs to take on the opposition, I know he has the guts because he tackling is great. Come on Lambie we know you've got the game, just believe in yourself. Him at fulback and FS at 12 is a much better balance that FS at 15 and JdV at 12. JdV has lost all his attacking abilities and is not a big hitter like FS in defence.

  • Anneleen - 2011-09-27 08:35

    Well done to all our players taking to the field on Friday...go Lambie...go Michaelhouse...go BOKKE!!!!!

  • sasa - 2011-09-27 09:12

    @ Johnny BB Look at the photo at the top the article. You will see the springbok emblem as clear as daylight. Go Bokke! No flower power

  • SA-FAN - 2011-09-27 09:36

    Great span ek sou net twee changes gemaak het Guthro vir Tendai en Francois Hougaard vir Bryan Habana.

      NiklaasSnr - 2011-09-27 14:51

      Liewer Francois Hougaard vir du Preez.

      Christo - 2011-09-27 20:20

      Stem, dit sal die beste span wees wat ons kan saamstel.Gurtro is 'n yster.As dit die span is kan ons die all blacks klop.

  • tony.bezuidenhout - 2011-09-27 15:17

    Habana and Smit sell by date come and gone , cannot have passengers in the team. Hougaard and Bismarck will make the difference between winning or losing.

  • rick.debruin1 - 2011-09-27 17:26

    Get Habana out of the bloody team!!

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