November 22, 2012 in Uncategorized
The Bok EOYT has primarily been used as a trial for Pat Lambie to show that he has what it takes to be a Bok #10. After failing quite spectacularly in the first two tests to play to Heyneke Meyer’s preferred kick and chase game plan he is now, according to news reports, given the opportunity to play his natural game against the English.
And the time has come for the youngster “to put up or shut up”.
For the first time in his senior career Pat Lambie has been playing under real pressure. Oh, I know he has played in tight matches and in pressure situations on the field, but he has had an easy run off the field throughout his career.
When he started playing senior rugby he was immediately ensconced as the Sharks’ blue eyed boy and was always assured of game time, hero worship and blind devotion. Even after poor performances he was above criticism amongst Sharks supporters and the media. Any criticism, however mild, was immediately met with a barrage of scorn, abuse and excuses. On Sharksworld, the Sharks fan site, any criticism of Lambie might very well lead to a ban from the forum.
For three years he has been above criticism but now suddenly, on this EOYT, the youngster was asked to prove himself and he has been given ample opportunity to do so as the other two flyhalves were relegated to holding tackle bags.
This year must have been a very difficult year for the youngster. This is probably the first time in his life that he is not the coach’s favourite. Where, under Peter de Villiers, he was always assured of sufficient game time, either off the bench or with the occasional start, under Heyneke Meyer he picked up more splinters off the bench than kicking tees off the park.
Until this EOYT that is.
During the first two tests he seemed uncertain and withdrawn, never really grabbing the game by the scruff of the neck and stamping his authority on the game. He just cannot afford to do the same against England if he hopes to remain in contention for the Bok #10 spot and it will do no good afterwards for people to blame the game plan, Ruan Pienaar not passing or Jean de Villiers killing the ball.
It is all up to Pat Lambie. It is his time to shine or to go down in flames.