In the third instalment of a new article series from the SA Rugby magazine team, DYLAN JACK reflects on a Currie Cup final that saw the emergence of a top talent.
2010 was a special year for sport in South Africa. It was the year which saw the Vodacom Bulls win the Vodacom Super Rugby final against the Stormers in Soweto. This would be the last time a South African team would lift the trophy, which would be dominated by New Zealand teams for the rest of the decade.
Most unforgettably, it was the year that the country hosted the Fifa World Cup, the first major tournament to be held in South Africa since the 1996 Africa Cup of Nations. Fans from all nations and walks of life flocked to South Africa, creating a festival atmosphere.
However, it would also be a very special year in the life of Patrick Lambie. The graduate of Michaelhouse school made his senior debut for the Sharks and played for the Junior Springboks and help them finish third at the U20 Championships.
Once back from Argentina, he slotted straight back into the Sharks team for their Currie Cup campaign, initially playing at fullback, before shifting to inside centre and finishing the season at flyhalf.
It was during the final against Western Province at Kings Park where his status as one of South Africa’s most promising rugby talents was sealed. Playing against an experienced Province side captained by Schalk Burger and guided by a halfback pair of Ricky Januarie and Willem de Waal, it would be one of the toughest tests of Lambie’s then-fledgling career.
From the first minute, Lambie demonstrated an incredible big-match temperament, taking the game by the scruff of the neck and never ceasing to apply pressure on Province. The game would come to be most remembered for Lambie’s hand-off on Burger as he sliced through the Province defence and dove in under the poles.
It would not be his only highlight as he kept the pressure on Province with some well-struck penalties before taking advantage of their desperation to get back into the game, snaffling a loose ball near the tryline and forcing his way over to see the Sharks all but seal the title.
Photo: Gallo Images