Cape Town - Miraculously, Patrick Lambie and I actually have quite a few things in common, one of them being the fact that we were both at Pretoria Boys High in 2008 for the Coca-Cola Craven Week. He, of course as a player, making his second appearance for the Sharks Schoolboy side, while I was making my debut as a SuperSport commentator. Lambie has gone on to play for the Springboks, while I still hack to see if I am to be included on the Craven Week commentator schedule each year …
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The bottom line is that the man was born to be a star, but even he might be surprised at how quickly it’s happened … Not only was he selected to play for his national rugby side in 2010, he was also voted by Sport24 readers as the man who gave the single best sporting performance of the year … forTHAT try in the Currie Cup final to take the Sharks to glory over Western Province …
In Cape Town for the Neo Africa Tri-Series, Lambie was good enough to take some time out of his schedule to receive said coveted trophy from Sport24, and I was privileged enough to have a quick chat with the 2010 sensation over a cup of coffee …
Craven week 2008 … It was my second Craven Week and the Sharks had a really good side that year with great camaraderie, and it was probably because of it that about 3 or 4 of us made the SA Schools side that year. Good times.
Fullback or flyhalf … I know it sounds clichéd but I seriously am happy to play either position. I just want to be on the field. I do like to being close to the ball at flyhalf, but I have also had success at fullback.
Being the first Michaelhouse Springbok … I got a lot of e-mails from staff and pupils which was awesome. I am actually going to the school next Wednesday to chat to both pupils and staff members, and to present the school with my first Bok jersey.
Influential people in early career ... My Michaelhouse coach Gavin Ross was hugely influential as he used to encourage us to express ourselves and play the ball from wherever we wanted to on the field. We really used to run it from anywhere which was great. Ryno Combrink, who was director of rugby at the school, also played a big part in all of our schoolboy rugby careers – He was very good technically.
Parents … They were not pushy at all, but they were fantastically encouraging and supportive, and just want what’s best for me.
Famous grandfather Nic Labuschagne … He has been a big part of my career. He loves chatting to me about rugby and comes to as many games as possible. I think he is really proud and likes talking to his mates about me.
That try in the Currie Cup final … I was just so happy to score a try in the final, and at such a crucial time in the game. To be honest, I do not really remember exactly what had happened during the try. I only became aware of the handoff on Schalk after the game when people started talking about it. It’s now been used as part of a Supersport ad so I have seen it a couple of times … But remember that two weeks before the final it was me being handed off by Jean de Villiers!
Post Currie Cup final celebrations … Yes, we did indeed celebrate accordingly, but a few of us had to behave ourselves because the Boks were leaving early the next day. And it started raining in car park which put a little bit of a dampener on things.
As a youngster ... I went to junior school in Durban, so I went to the stadium to watch rugby every weekend. Andre Joubert and Henri Honiball were the stand out players for me. And they all seemed so big and so strong. From those days I have always dreamt of playing for Sharks.
Does size count … I think size is a big thing in schoolboy rugby given that guys mature at different rates, and it can be intimidating coming up against a real monster. But in pro rugby it’s about technique. I am not going to try and run over or through a prop, but would rather use my feet to get round him. And likewise on defence, instead of trying to smash him backwards, I will rather head for his ankles to try and get him down. To be honest, I have felt pretty good defensively thus far.
Springbok selection ... There was so much talk about it in the build up to the announcement, but I tried not to focus on it, and rather focussed on the Currie Cup final. But it was a like a dream come true when I heard. I only found out about my selection as we were about to go up for our winners medals after the final. What a day!
Integration into Bok squad ... Everyone was excellent and there were no issues at all. I did try my best to respect both the older players and the Springbok traditions which I think went down well with the older guys. But there was never a case of the new guys going to the back of the queue or carrying tackle bags, and there were no English / Afrikaans issues that I was aware of.
So many flyhalves on the Bok tour … I thought Elton had earned his place in the squad, as had Morne obviously, and I like to think I had as well. There was healthy competition between the three of us and it was nice to learn from both Morne and Elton. There was never anything nasty which was great. We were all just trying to improve each other’s games. It was awesome.
Any frustration on tour … Yep there probably was a little frustration if I had to be honest. I was really chuffed to be part of all five games, but as any player dying to get onto the field, I would have loved a start at flyhalf, but perhaps that will come in the future.
And the Scotland fiasco ... I think they were really up for the game after All Black hammering the week before. Conditions were unbelievably bad, and we made silly mistakes at important times during the game. They slotted their kicks and we ended up chasing the game. It just was not our day.
The Baa Baa experience … It really was freezing that week, so training was slightly curtailed, but it was great as a lot of the players had not had a run on tour and were keen to play. We also got to mix with the Baa Baas at a cocktail function on the Wednesday which was really cool. The second half score was something like 17-5 to us, so we did get back into the game, but we just did not see enough of the ball in the first half.
After the Bok tour … We have a family beach house out near Ballito, so the family got to spend some together there. I managed to get some surfing in, played a little golf, and just basically relaxed.
Outlook on 2011 and your career … Rugby wise this year I am looking to cement a place in the Sharks side, to play in Tri-Nations and then play in the World Cup for the Boks. Outside of rugby, though, I am studying Environmental Management at Unisa. I am actually writing an Environmental Education exam this Friday as I missed a few exams because of Bok tour last year, so am catching up a little, and if I pass these four exams I will have got through year two …
Patrick Lambie is a star in the making, of that I have little doubt. It was a pleasure to spend some time with him. Congratulations on the Award.
Tank Lanning presents the Sport24 Performance of 2010 Award to Pat Lambie