Racing 92 president Jacky Lorenzetti paid tribute to Pat Lambie, who has retired from rugby due to the effects of an accumulation of concussions.
Lambie, who played 56 Tests for the Boks, was seriously concussed after taking a late hit from Ireland’s CJ Stander at Newlands in June 2016, and took another blow to the head during a Super Rugby match for the Sharks in May 2017.
On 30 December last year, the 28-year-old sustained an eye socket injury during the early stages of Racing’s Top 14 clash against Oyonnax and had to be taken off the field.
‘Patrick Lambie has decided to end his professional rugby career,’ Lorenzetti confirmed on Saturday. ‘We understand his decision, made by mutual agreement, but we regret that such a genius of the game is forced to come to this end. A gentleman – the embodiment of the Racing man – away from the field, he inspired with his personality.
‘In sporting terms, his retirement is a blow for Racing. On a personal level, it’s sad news for me and for the whole club.
‘Patrick is an immense champion, a good guy, as elegant on the field as off it. In a word, an angel! At the club, we all had a sincere and friendly relationship with him, and were delighted with his desire to assimilate. His French teacher and coaches can attest to this.
‘When his physical troubles caught up with him, we organised meetings with several specialists. Everyone at the club helped him so he did not get discouraged and took the time he needed to come back stronger.
‘Today we are sad and disappointed, but we know that with his human qualities, the strong support he knows he has around him, Patrick will bounce back to a new life.’