Lambie is moving to flyhalf against the All Blacks. It is a call, nay, a scream from the public that has finally taken fruit in the Bok’s management’s minds. South Africa has needed this from a team and supporter perspective. As much as I rejoice at this decision I am still left feeling uneasy. Let me explain.
Lambie has and always will be (I hope) a real star in the making. Do any of you still remember Gaffie du Toit? Now back then he was an exceptional talent and in my opinion one of the best thinking flyhalves I have ever seen. Enter Nick “I-know-it-all” Mallet. What did Old Nick do to Gaffie? He ruined a potential Bok great! He basically destroyed a bright prospect’s future. And he did it in a nasty way. Gaffie wasn’t allowed to grow and mature as a flyhalf. He was chucked in the deep end and told to swim. When we lost he was told that it was his fault that the entire team drowned. I know this doesn’t say much for his psychological strength but it destroyed him and he was never the same player again. He never reached those heights he looked to smash through.
Enter Pat Lambie. The kid has shown tremendous maturity and an ability to absorb pressure and in this way, more than anything, is the difference between him and Gaffie. But then again he is only 20 and being asked to float a sinking ship once again and against the world’s toughest opponents. Isn’t that just a little unfair? I say yes, for a few reasons.
Lambie is expected to carry a team with mediocre individuals, some who don’t even deserve to be there. If our more senior guys were playing I would have played Lambie because you would have had people like Jean de Villiers, Jaque Fourie and Fourie du Preez to help the player and provide the much needed experience to help him through the game. Lambie has underperforming players that he is now expected to carry through this game after having only a few games test experience. He will be playing against the best team in the world and he is expected, at 20, to be our saviour.
All eyes have now turned to Lambie and what will happen if he doesn’t perform? What will be said? Will fingers be pointed in his direction and receive most of the blame? I bloody hope not!!! There will be 14 other players on that field all who are supposed to bring their “A-game” to the show. However due to nonsensical player choices no matter how well the guys who do deserve their places play, will never measure up because of the few who are out of their depth at this level. Guys like Lambie, de Jongh, Mvovo, Chilliboy, Johnson and Mostert will struggle to make their presence felt because they will be carrying extra unneeded responsibility.
Let us hope that their reputations come out the other side unscathed and even stronger after Saturday’s game. Let us hope they do not get pulled down by the undeserving few. I do not see us winning, in fact I predict a massacre and in a game like that it will be difficult for the talented to shine.