'Classy' Lambie perfect fit for Boks
'Classy' Lambie perfect fit for BoksSHARE
Springbok captain Jean de Villiers is confident that the 'classy' Pat Lambie will handle the pressure of steering the Bok ship in Dublin on Saturday.
Having spent the year in coach Heyneke Meyer's squad so far as a fullback replacement, the versatile Lambie earns his first start of the year at flyhalf this weekend following an impressive showing as pivot at the business-end of the Currie Cup for the Sharks.
He takes the place of the promising Johan Goosen, who injured himself in the Boks' defeat to the All Blacks at Soccer City, and De Villiers is confident that Lambie will take his opportunity in Dublin.
The Bok captain said that Lambie's well-rounded skillset makes him the ideal candidate to guide the visitors through what should be an intense clash at a cold and wet Aviva Stadium.
"He [Lambie] is a class player, I think for the past couple of years he has really shown what he can do at all levels. He is an all-round player who can play 10, 12 or 15.
"I think he has got the full skillset to be able to put up a good performance at Test match level in the No.10 jersey and I am full of confidence that he will definitely lead the side well as a flyhalf.
"He is a good kicker and he has got the temperament to do what is expected of him, so if he is put under pressure I am sure he will stand up and be counted for," he said.
Before the ball gets to Lambie the Bok pack will have to do some hard work up front, and De Villiers said that the key would be to put the Irish under pressure in the set-pieces.
"I think our set-plays have really improved this year, I think our scrum is going really well and the line-outs as well – a guy like Juandre Kruger puts a lot of time into that and we are hoping that we can build on that from a set-phase point of view," he said.
The experienced centre, who spent some time in Ireland playing for Munster, said that the Boks biggest area for improvement is their defence which was exposed by the All Blacks, and he warned that they cannot afford to give the Irish the same opportunities.
"The one area I think we need to improve from our last game is our defence, we let in a couple of tries, obviously against quality opposition but having played with and against a lot of the Irish backline players as well they are capable of cutting you to shreds," he said.