Lambie the man for Bok ten jersey

Date published: August 18 2015

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Patrick Lambie showed in his performance against Argentina that he should be the Springboks' first-choice fly-half at the Rugby World Cup.

Lambie's role, in the Boks' victory in Buenos Aires on Saturday, has now created a selection headache for coach Heyneke Meyer with the World Cup just a month away.

Meyer has battled when it comes to deciding on who should play at fly-half for the Boks in recent years. Handré Pollard started five out of South Africa's nine Tests in 2014 with Lambie in the saddle in three of those internationals and Morné Steyn for one.

South Africa have several players vying for the number 10 jersey. Elton Jantjies, who impressed for the Lions in Super Rugby, and Steyn, who won the Top 14 title with Stade Français, are also in the selection mix ahead of the World Cup although they now seem to be in a battle for the third fly-half's berth, after both failed to get an opportunity to stake their claims in Test matches in 2015.

Meyer went in to the Rugby Championship with Pollard firmly entrenched as South Africa's number one pivot, but he was relegated to the bench after some indifferent performances in the Boks' losses to Australia in Brisbane, New Zealand in Johannesburg and los Pumas in Durban.

The Boks played expansively in those three matches and were praised for their style of play – especially in the narrow defeats against the Wallabies and All Blacks – but they didn't get the desired results and Lambie was elevated to the run-on side.

The Sharks man showed at Vélez Sarsfield that he must start the big games at the World Cup after an assured display when the two-time world champions had their backs to the wall.

The Boks changed their game-plan and opted to kick for field position, before launching attacks. Lambie took advantage of the platform created by his forwards and played one of his best games for his country.

His astute tactical kicking game put his side on the front foot and he impressed as a playmaker and created several attacking opportunities for his outside backs.

Lambie also delivered a faultless goalkicking display, slotting two conversions, two penalties and a drop goal in the Boks' 26-12 victory.

Meyer showed his hand by picking Pollard for his first three Tests but the Bulls pivot failed to stamp his authority during those fixtures.

Pollard, like Lambie, has shown in the past that he can play the running game and use his boot to play tactically, but he hasn't built on the opportunities he has received.

After being on the bench for three of the Boks' four Tests this year, Lambie has grabbed his one chance in the starting XV and should be the man pulling the strings in the Bok backline at next month's global showpiece in England and Wales.

By David Skippers

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