Patrick Lambie (Gallo Images)
London - Patrick Lambie has hailed South Africa’s third place finish at the 2015 Rugby World Cup as the end of an era.
He also lauded the All Blacks.
Both South Africa and Argentina were still reeling from their agonising semi-final defeats and in a muted game at the Olympic Stadium tries from JP Pietersen and Eben Etzebeth either side of the half-time break were sufficient to propel the Springboks to a comfortable 24-13 victory over Los Pumas with Handre Pollard landing 14 points from the tee.
Argentina again played their free-flowing game, determined to attack from all quarters, but failed to breach a sturdy South African defence.
Argentinian captain Nicolas Sanchez ended his campaign with 97 points and may well become the tournament’s top scorer.
South Africa said farewell to a swathe of their golden generation. Schalk Burger, Fourie du Preez, Bryan Habana and Victor Matfield won’t compete at the next World Cup in Japan.
“I think it’s the end of an era and the start of a new one in away - Springboks forwards that are saying goodbye after the game,” commented Patrick Lambie, who had replaced Willie Le Roux after 64 minutes to get a landmark 50th cap.
“They have been fantastic ambassadors; they have really put their bodies on the line over the years. It means that there are opportunities for younger players going forward with the Springboks.
“There is a huge amount of talent that is nurtured and coached in a great way,” projected Lambie.
“The team is a force to be reckoned with and has every chance of winning the World Cup (in the future).
“We had the goal of finishing on a high,” said Lambie.
“It’s been a long journey over the last four years. It was job done.”
“We wanted to go back to South Africa with something and I guess a bronze medal is better than nothing,” continued Lambie.
“Obviously, it’s not what we had hoped for, it was not the goal that we had set out to achieve.”
For now, South Africa’s two main southern hemisphere rivals top world rugby.
“I think they (New Zealand) have been the best team in the world over the last few years,” said Lambie.
“I guess their record speaks for itself and they played better during the finals.”