The last time Pat Lambie appeared for the Springboks was in November 2016 against Wales in Cardiff. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

JOHANNESBURG – Former Springbok flyhalf Patrick Lambie on Saturday announced his retirement from professional rugby at the age of 28.

His French club Racing 92 made the announcement on their website.

Lambie, who played 56 Test matches for South Africa, has been plagued by persistent head injuries, and finally decided to call time on his career.

The last time Lambie appeared for the Springboks was in November 2016 against Wales in Cardiff.

The injury first struck in June 2016 for Lambie when he was knocked out following a collision with Irish loose forward CJ Stander in Cape Town.

Another head injury followed for Lambie in May 2017 after he collided with teammate Rhyno Smith during a Super Rugby match for the Sharks against the Kings.

In a statement on the Racing website, club president Jacky Lorenzetti said that the team “understand the decision” by Lambie to hang up his boots.

“Patrick Lambie decided to stop his professional rugby career. 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 and a gentleman like him – the embodiment of the Racing man – away from where he illuminated with his inspired feet,” Lorenzetti said.

“Sportingly, his retirement is a blow for Racing. Humanly, it’s sad news for me and for the whole club.

“Patrick is a huge champion, as elegant on the field as outside. In a word, an angel! At the club, we all had a sincere and friendly relationship with him, astonished by his desire to integrate.

“His French teacher could testify, as well as his coaches, his involvement and his seriousness on a daily basis.

“But the will is unfortunately not everything. Patrick suffered several injuries. Racing and in particular its medical service have done everything to ensure that Lambie is in the best condition and that he can express its immense versatile three-quarter qualities.

“At flyhalf, in the centre, in the back, he has repeatedly proved that he was one of those rare players who knows how to spark. It’s no coincidence that he led the Springbok attack 56 times...”

African News Agency (ANA), Staff Writer