The ticker of a champion

October 18, 2010
Posted by

It may be the ignorance of youth, but given the sideshows with certain players in the last 18 months it is refreshing to see a brilliant young talent taking everything in his stride.

There is nothing that irritates me more in South African rugby than individuals shifting the blame. It is prominent in administration and coaching, but I have wasted too many inches of column space on those two subjects.  But recently it has seemed that players have too caught up on this new tactic in rugby of shifting the blame.

A massive problem is of course players starting to believe the hype that surrounds them, and if anything, or anyone attempts to burst that bubble their throw their toys out of the cot.

More unfortunate than this however is that these players are massively talented, an asset to any team, but what they make up for natural talent as players, they lack in the mental application.

Ruan Pienaar is one that comes to mind, and even though I will not claim to know the full story or having inside information, recent situations and interviews published in the media leaves me in little doubt that something is not quite right in his mental application.

Let’s look at a player who to me seems to be on the different side of this spectrum!

This young man has been identified as a special talent and given what he has produced on the field, there seems little doubt that indeed he is something quite special.

But it is not just what he does on the field from a talent perspective, it is how he applies himself to the situation which is what interested me.

For a young man in his first season of senior rugby Patrick Lambie has not only shown that he has the goods in the skills department, but he also has the aptitude to play rugby at the highest level.

And it is in the mental application of players where you identify something really special.

How often do we hear that player X is a ‘confidence‘ player? A player who seemingly needs to be given or shown something to play at his best, or get self-confidence.

Excuse me? How is self-confidence in any individual the fault of another person in rugby? You either have the ticker and belief in yourself to overcome bad press, or unfavourable team selections or you do not – simple as that.

Going around blaming coaches for inconsistent selections or bad communication or throwing a hissy-tiff because some journalist or columnist gave you a bad wrap, says more about you than it does about the coach or writer.

It was on this weekend again in the semi-final, against arguably the best provincial rugby team in the world, where Lambie showed just how ready he is, and how good he is when it comes to performing at the highest levels.

A kick went directly into touch, it was a bad kick, an unforced error that handed advantage to the other team, and in a close game or an important game as a semi-final, this can possibly have dire consequences.

What did he do? He turned around, brushed it off, and got on with the game.

Seems a pretty simple thing to most I would imagine, perhaps even worrying to some that he takes a mistake like that so lightly! But to me it shows a player that has the utmost faith in his ability where he will not get flustered, or sidetracked when things does not go his way, and that is the ticker I want to see in a player.

Not only has he done and shown this type of attitude in domestic competitions, but when he was asked to fill the crucial number 15 jersey for the Sharks in a bit of a crisis in the Super 14, he was identified as one of the more special players not only in the Sharks team, but in the tournament.

By all accounts this young man has displayed these characteristics from a young age. Humble in everything he does, accepting leadership roles and responsibilities with ease and being respected by young and old, junior and senior players.

I know of a certain player whose head would have dropped, his game falling apart completely with no doubt, countless post match articles claiming how coaches should have nurtured him better or not screwed him around.

Yet Lambie has taken most of this in his stride, whether he wore the 15, 12 or number 10 shirt – and that makes for a real special talent.

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to MySpace

Tags: , , ,


  1. avatar bryce_in_oz says:
    October 18th, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    We’ll see what he’d be saying if another 3 yrs down the track he’s still being shifted around positions, not starting, playing second fiddle to second rate players etc etc despite his coach stating otherwise…

    He’ll be quietly going about his business with match-making performances for a Munster or Racing Metro and getting paid the big bucks…

  2. avatar bryce_in_oz says:
    October 18th, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    But so far so good…

  3. avatar Bokhoring T says:
    October 18th, 2010 at 3:10 pm

    He needs to stay at 10 (or maybe even 12)

  4. avatar Jacques(Bunny) says:
    October 18th, 2010 at 6:39 pm

    Reply to Bokhoring T @ 3:10 pm: He is a much better 15, Do not believe he is a 10 but he is still young so they need to get him into one position an dkeep him there.

  5. avatar Boertjie says:
    October 18th, 2010 at 8:24 pm

    Reply to Jacques(Bunny) @ 6:39 pm:

    15. Gives him more room for countering, and he’s a good counter attacker and linking player.

  6. avatar Bokhoring T says:
    October 19th, 2010 at 12:06 pm

    Reply to Jacques(Bunny) @ 6:39 pm: He is too slow for a 15 and does not have a huge boot. I prefer him closer to the action.

Switch to our mobile site