Pat Lambie has been deemed ready for a return to Test rugby after receiving the all-clear from the Springbok medical team. CRAIG LEWIS reports in Johannesburg.
Lambie only recently returned to play with an appearance off the bench in the Sharks’ last Currie Cup clash, making his comeback after spending more than three months out of action due to a serious concussion suffered in the Boks’ opening Test of the year.
Following that cameo, he was immediately recalled to the Bok squad for their final two Rugby Championship Tests against the Wallabies and All Blacks, but Allister Coetzee explained at the time that his inclusion was primarily to allow for the medical team to assess his condition.
If it was felt that Lambie would benefit from more game-time in the Currie Cup, he may well have returned to the Sharks ahead of their final pool game this weekend.
However, the 25-year-old came through training well during the first Bok training session of the week on Monday, and then appeared at a press conference in the team hotel, where he reiterated that he was feeling good.
‘Thankfully over the last few weeks I’ve been back in the gym and done some good conditioning work before having a hit-out with the Sharks. I think I’ve ticked all the necessary boxes, and I feel ready to play for as much as I’m needed.
‘I’m thrilled to be back, I’ve really missed being part of the Boks,’ he added. ‘It was frustrating at times to be on the sidelines, and considering how long it took for me to feel ready again. But I’ve been looked after well and I’m really looking forward to contributing in any way I can.’
Although Lambie has been cleared, he may not be rushed back into the starting lineup. Should Elton Jantjies be dropped, Morné Steyn appears to be the more likely candidate to reclaim the No 10 jersey for this Saturday’s encounter with the Wallabies at Loftus.
Coetzee said it was a big boost to the squad to have Lambie back in the mix.
‘Pat isn’t injured anymore, and for me it was always about Pat letting me know when he was 100%, and about his confidence once he’d been cleared. It was about him knowing when he was ready, so it’s great to have him back and he had a great training session this morning. He will form part of our plans this week.’
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