Pat gets two con­tracts

Saru con­firms Lam­bie to re­ceive Bok con­tract

Weekend Witness - - Sport - JOHN BISHOP Spring­bok rugby

IT has been a week of good news and con­tracts for Sharks and Spring­bok fly­half Pat Lam­bie.

The 23­year­old fly­half mar­ried Kate Symons at Michael­house last Satur­day and yes­ter­day the South African Rugby Union (Saru) con­firmed that Lam­bie was one of a new group of seven play­ers to re­ceive Spring­bok con­tracts.

The ta­lented Lam­bie was last year sur­pris­ingly ex­cluded from the ini­tial list of 10 con­tracted play­ers. But yes­ter­day he and Sharks team­mate, flank Mar­cell Coet­zee, were added to the list.

The other five are full­back/wing Wil­lie le Roux, Bulls scrumhalf Fran­cois Hougaard, cen­tre J. J. En­gel­brecht, Chee­tahs prop Coe­nie Oosthuizen and Bulls lock Flip van der Merwe.

There will be some con­cern that the ex­cit­ing Sharks lock/flank Pi­eter­Steph du Toit is not among the con­tracted play­ers. Du Toit, man of the match in the Cur­rie Cup fi­nal at New­lands last Oc­to­ber, has only played two Tests, but he is con­sid­ered one of the bright­est prospects in world rugby.

Saru, in mak­ing a de­ter­mined bid to keep lead­ing play­ers in South Africa ahead of the 2015 Rugby World Cup in Eng­land, have not con­tracted any over­seas­based play­ers, such as Bryan Ha­bana, Fourie du Preez, Fran­cois Louw, Jaque Fourie, Ruan Pien­aar and Morné Steyn.

The good news is that Sharks wing J.P. Pi­etersen, cur­rently play­ing in Ja­pan and due back in Dur­ban next month, has now com­mit­ted him­self to the Spring­boks and he has been con­tracted for 2015.

Jurie Roux, CEO of Saru, con­firmed that Bok coach Heyneke Meyer could con­tract ad­di­tional play­ers if he wished.

“I am de­lighted that we have been able to con­clude the con­tract­ing of a core Spring­bok group so early in the year,” said Roux. “In the past, dis­ cus­sions have gone on for some months for dif­fer­ent rea­sons at dif­fer­ent times. We in­vari­ably reached agree­ment, but we are pleased to have been able to con­clude this very im­por­tant mat­ter so early in the year. The core group of Spring­boks are now na­tion­ally con­tracted, which bodes well for the next two sea­sons as we step up prepa­ra­tions for the Rugby World Cup in Eng­land in 2015.”

There are seven Sharks among the con­tracted 17 play­ers.

Mar­cell Coet­zee (loose for­ward), J.J. En­gel­brecht (cen­tre/wing), Fran­cois Hougaard (scrumhalf), Pa­trick Lam­bie (fly­half/full­back), Wil­lie le Roux (full­back/wing), Coe­nie Oosthuizen (prop), Flip van der Merwe (lock), Willem Al­berts (loose for­ward), Jean de Vil­liers (cen­tre), Bis­marck du Plessis (hooker), Jan­nie du Plessis (prop), Eben Etze­beth (lock), Siya Kolisi (loose­for­ward), Tendai Mtawarira (prop), Frans Steyn (util­ity back), Adriaan Strauss (hooker), Duane Ver­meulen (num­ber eight).

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