Why Zane is favoured over Lambie

October 10, 2012 in Rugby, Rugby Championship, Springboks

With Ruan Pienaar saying Lambie should decide where he wants to play, I again wondered about the argument between who is better for the Bok side, Lambie or Kirchner.

To the naked eye, Lambie is clearly the better player, being able to play at flyhalf, inside centre and full back. Many say this is his downfall, the fact that he is so versatile, yet to me that is actually a strength.  Players like Stephen Larkham, Berrick Barnes, Matt Giteau, Stirling Mortlock and even Dan Carter have played in various positions throughout their careers and it made them better players overall.

It’s not to say that Lambie should be used intermittently throughout all those positions at the Springboks though. But he can progress from full back to flyhalf in his career, that’s if Goosen and Jantjies cannot step up to the plate in the longer term.

In comparison we have Zane Kirchner. One dimensional as you get as a rugby player, and although he does his job on the field, he doesn’t add anything beyond what we expect him to deliver. In fact, not much can be written about his play, other than his ability to catch the ball, tackle the opposition, and finish off try opportunities on the try line.  He hardly creates anything, ever.

So it is as clear as a Bryce Lawrence decision as to why Kirchner is favored over Lambie.  The Bulls bias theory has been blown to shatters with Meyer picking only 3 Bulls in the last test match, so Meyer for some reason clearly favours Kirchner over Lambie.

The “unofficial” quota system theory has also reared its head by some suggesting it in the media, although not forthright, but then one should question why, when the opportunity was there, De Jongh was not picked to partner Jean de Villiers, and why Hougaard was persisted with while we had Aplon playing Currie Cup.  Both players would fill the required “quota” although would hardly be regarded as quota players as in my opinion, they are more experienced and quality players than Taute and Hougaard.

Looking at Zane and Pat’s attributes, only one thing shows why Kirchner is favoured:

Full Name Patrick Zane
Surname Lambie Kirchner
Height 177 Cm 184 Cm
Weight 87 Kg 92 Kg
Birth Date 17 October 1990 16 June 1984
Test Debut 6 November 2010 Vs Ireland In Dublin Aged 20 4 July 2009 Vs British & Irish Lions In Johannesburg Aged 25
Springbok Caps 17 21
Matches Won 10 10
Career Tries 21 47
Career Penalties 150 29
Career Conversions 136 39
Career Points 827 400
Honors: SA Schools – 2007

SA Schools – 2008

IRB Junior World Championships – 2010

Emerging Springboks Vs British And Irish Lions – 2009 (After Test Debut)


Everything shows in Lambie’s favour. Yes, Zane has scored more tries, in his career and played more tests in his career (mostly because Lambie was sidelined most of the year), but Lambie has scored more points overall, double in fact that of Kirchner, and his played his Rugby at all levels from junior to senior level. Lambie at 22 next week, is also relatively younger than Kirchner who turned 28 this year, so his prospects for the future is mouth watering!

But Kirchner is 7 cm’s taller than Lambie and 5 Kg’s heavier.

And knowing Meyer’s excitement over size, it seems it really is all that matters to him. Not brains. Not X-Factor. Not versatility. Not the ability to create something from nothing. Nope. Size.

How much 7 cm’s and 5Kg’s in the backline really matters, I don’t know. But to me it hardly makes the difference. Little Elton Jantjies this weekend made a perfect tackle on Ma’a Nonu by just grabbing his ankles. So does size really matter in the backline?

I doubt.

Ruan says Lambie is smart, and we all know that, and that he will probably make the right decision. If Lambie wants to continue playing for the Springboks, he surely knows he is far behind in the pecking order when it comes to Flyhalf. With Johan Goosen the man who has his placed booked, bar some injury concerns, and Elton leapfrogging Lambie to the vacant substitute spot, and Morne set to make his return in the Northern Hemisphere with Goosen now injured (again), there surely is just one spot he can fit in, and that is full back.

He cannot bargain on Goosen being sidelined to injury for ever, and Elton will be favour ahead of him no matter what form Lambie shows at flyhalf. But he will always remain second choice as long as Goosen is around anyways. With Kirchner ageing, and being one dimensional, Lambie can make the nr 15 jersey his own.


15 responses to Why Zane is favoured over Lambie

  1. HM is obsessed with size, yet plays an out of form midget on the wing. Why? Oh I forgot ,. he is a blue bull.

  2. How many of those tries under Zane’s belt was CREATED by himself? How many of those tries were anything more than that clown taking the ball from the inside man and falling over the line? I’m sorry mate, you must be a Bulls supporter as they are the only ones who believe Kirchner is good enough to be there. I actually have a few mates who are HUGE Bulls supporters and they can’t believe he is SA’s first choice 15!!

    Lambie is better than Kirchner even when blindfolded. Most of Lambie’s tries he scored were on his own without a pathetic “5meter before opponent sidestep” that makes Zane look even worse than he is. And furthermore, there is one stat missing in that list … Tries created. I will let you decide who wins this one but its damn obvious.

    I agree with Met Uysh … With Goosen and Jantjies knocking at the door and with useless number 15, Lambie should and will make no15 his position IF and WHEN HM opens his damn eyes to this guy’s serious skills!!! But then they must keep him at 15 for a while, let him start even if he has an off game here and there. Carter hasnt always been brilliant for NZ, he also had a up-down start to his career but they persisted with him and he is no the best no10 in the world and I bet if you put him at fullback, he will make a huge impact in the game, same goes for in the centers. Lambie can play the exact positions Carter can and he has the same skill set, unfortunately for him, not the same coaches.

  3. You can liken Zane to a Nokia 3310, it does its job, but then Lambie is like an iPhone, it does its job but gives you so much more!

  4. @gillbert Haha! So was Goosen, by the way… ;)

  5. Lameby was still in primary school when HM coached the Bulls

  6. How can u ignore the fact that Kirchener has scored MORE THAN DOUBLE THE AMOUNT OF TRIES than Lambie has??

    In a team with a flyhalf who kicks for poles, then Lambies overall points record is irrelevant as he would not be kicking for poles.

    So maybe…perhaps….somehow…size does matter when it comes to finishing off tries in test rugby. You, and the rest of the SA rugby public, made up your minds about Kirchener a long time ago and are unable to see that he has been playing great rugby in the last number of tests.

    • Well, Kirchner has started in 152 career games, as opposed to Lambie’s 66 matches, so Kirchner would have scored more tries than Lambie. Also, Zane doesn’t create tries, he finished them. Yeah, he might have some try assists, but that is merely passing the ball to the next guy who dives over for the try. Lambie more often than not creates tries for his backs with his creative play, and scores less himself as a result.

  7. The biggest shock was playing Taute straight from injury to Springbok Centre whil Lambie could have played and Taute could have been benced.

    Maybe Lambie said/did something to HM while he was in charge of the Bulls.

    If it is a size thing, then Lambie should use his Shampoo add money and bulk up on biceps and cement his place as Fullback, Lambie is good under the high ball, can kick, can run and can tacle, Fullback would be his/our best bet.

  8. HM should tell people like Lambie, Taute, Hougaard where he sees their future in the Boks.

    Then they can make informed decisions. Thing is HM only sees Lambie as a versatile sub.

    If HM sees Taute as 13 option then Lambie might have a chance but if HM sees Taute as a 15 then Lambie might as well go play rugby in france.

  9. Heynecke has an obsession with size. He is a size-ist. :)

    It is also the reason why Taute leapfrogged de Jong for the starting line-up. And why he told several people Gio Aplon doesnt feature in his plans.

    Aplon’s frustration with being dropped was clearly visable in the Currie Cup. You could clearly see he isnt enjoying his rugby.

  10. the extra 5kg’s Niknaks have over Lambie is only his ego.


      • I don’t know where all of the 5 kgs come from, but a family-pack of NikNaks = 38g x 48 packs which gives us a total of around 1.8 kg. However, careful calculations tell us that 3 family packs = 5.472 kg, just saying 3 family packs can go a long way at a braai…