Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus praises Pat Lambie’s ‘calm temperament’

22 January 2019 - 11:01 By Craig Ray
A file photo of former Springboks flyhalf Pat Lambie in action during the 2016 Castle Lager Outgoing Tour match between Italy and South Africa at Stadio Olimpico.
A file photo of former Springboks flyhalf Pat Lambie in action during the 2016 Castle Lager Outgoing Tour match between Italy and South Africa at Stadio Olimpico.
Image: Gabriele Maltinti

Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus praised Pat Lambie’s ‘calm temperament’ after the 28-year-old announced his retirement from rugby at the weekend.

Lambie‚ who played 56 Tests for the Springboks and was South Africa’s Young Player of the Year in 2011‚ retired on medical advice following nearly three years battling the effects of a series of concussions.

The flyhalf‚ who also played fullback‚ suffered three major head blows in the past 30 months and is still living with discomfort.

He catalogued a worrying list of issues as a result of the trauma he has endured.

"I've had three different courses of medication‚ I've had treatment on my neck and my jaw‚ I've had eye rehabilitation exercises‚ balance work‚ I've been on multi-vitamins‚ I've had blood tests‚ MRIs‚ I've seen specialists here in France and neurologists back in South Africa‚” Lambie said.

“And all the information that has been given back to me is that it isn't worth the risk and the advice is that I stop playing.”

Erasmus‚ who was unable to select Lambie last season as he was sidelined with head and knee injuries‚ paid tribute to the playmaker.

“Pat was a wonderfully balanced player‚ always humble and he treated everybody the same. I think one of his great strengths was his consistently calm temperament‚” said Erasmus.

“Pat gave great service to the Springboks and the Sharks and I want to wish him well with his future endeavours.”

Lambie was hoping to force his way into the Erasmus’ Boks squad for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan and admitted in a recent interview that he and the coach had discussed the possibility.

SA Rugby president Mark Alexander also tipped his cap to Lambie.

“From a young age‚ when Pat starred for the SA Schools side‚ he has distinguished himself not only as a hugely popular player amongst his team mates and opponents‚ but also as a good leader‚” Alexander said.

“Pat always gave his best in every game that he played‚ be that for the SA Schools side‚ the SA Under-20s‚ the Sharks or the Springboks.

“My fond memories of him would always be that of a mercurial player who was an absolute gentleman on and off the field. His retirement was done with the best interest of him and his family in mind.

“We respect his decision and on behalf of SA Rugby I want to thank him and his family for his sterling contribution to our game.

"Pat’s health is of paramount importance and I want to wish him well and I know he will tackle the next stage of his life with the same enthusiasm and commitment that he showed as player.”

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