That was the sentiment expressed by Patrick Lambie at a Springbok press conference in Durban yesterday and while the 24-year-old was talking about his own fortunes in the green and gold, there will be many fringe Boks agreeing that where there is opportunity there is hope.
Over the next fortnight of matches against Argentina, a mixture of returning veterans and youngsters will be given their shot at stating their World Cup case, and with the spectre of injury never far away in rugby, players currently on the outs who put their hands up in these matches against the Pumas could suddenly be propelled into the starting line-up should misfortune strike an incumbent.
Lambie’s presence at the press conference suggested that he is going to start against the Pumas at Kings Park and in his typically polite manner, he said he was hungrier than ever to play his way back into the starting XV.
Lambie finished last season as the starting Bok flyhalf, displacing Handré Pollard after the defeat to Ireland in Dublin in the tour opener, but with Lambie injured for most of Super Rugby, Pollard has turned the tables and appears to be Heyneke Meyer’s first-choice 10.
“There are 40 of us here doing our best to make the team, hoping for playing time, and with the same World Cup dream. We have to wait and see but one thing I have learned is that nothing is set in stone,” Lambie said. “Springbok rugby is in healthy state. There is a very good vibe in the squad and plenty of exciting new players making an impression. This is the hardest we have trained in my experience as a Springbok and there is a strong desire to turn the disappointment of narrow recent losses into a run of victories into the World Cup.”
Lambie pointed out that he was just one of four flyhalves in strong competition with each other. “Elton (Jantjies), Morné Steyn, Handré and myself are all pushing each other and that will bring the best out in us,” he said.
But Lambie needs no reminding that his versatility could play against him in the fight for the No10 jersey and he could well find himself on the bench as a “Jack of all trades”, covering 10, 12 and 15.
When asked if the coach was considering him for a fullback role, Lambie diplomatically replied: “I am not 100percent sure. I am happy to play either position and have done it before (he was the fullback at the 2011 World Cup). At this stage I have hardly played in the last few months and any game time I can get is great for me, be it 10 or 15. It does not bother me.”
Lambie has spent much of the last two Sharks Super Rugby campaigns on the sidelines. He tore a bicep muscle in 2014 and this year suffered serious neck vertebrae damage.
“Yes, it has been very frustrating,” he admitted. “The sidelines are never a nice place to be but you have to take as many positives as you can out of the situation. I have used the time to do a lot of conditioning work in the gym. I feel mentally fresh and hungrier than ever. I am raring to go.”
Lambie said he had had a few nervous thoughts before taking contact after the neck injury but is now good to go.
“I had to deal with some horrible thoughts in the first week or two coming back, but having got back onto the field I feel I have broken the shackles and do not think about it anymore. The neck is feeling great and the confidence is back.” - The Star
Original source: Lambie happy at flyhalf or fullback