CAPE TOWN – “My fond memories of him would always be that of a mercurial player who was an absolute gentleman on and off the field.” That was the way in which SA Rugby president Mark Alexander remembered Pat Lambie, who retired from the sport at the weekend.
The 28-year-old Lambie, who earned 56 Test caps for the Springboks and was playing for French club Racing 92, was forced to hang up his boots due to continuing problems with concussion-related symptoms following a number of head clashes in his career.
“From a young age, when Pat starred for the SA Schools side, he has distinguished himself not only as a hugely popular player amongst his teammates and opponents, but also as a good leader,” Alexander said in a statement on Monday.
“Pat always gave his best in every game that he played, be that for the SA Schools side, the SA Under-20s, the Sharks or the Springboks.
“As a player, my fond memories of him would always be that of a mercurial player who was an absolute gentleman on and off the field.
“His retirement was done with the best interest of him and his family in mind.
“We respect his decision, and on behalf of SA Rugby, I want to thank him and his family for his sterling contribution to our game.
“Pat’s health is of paramount importance, and I want to wish him well, and I know he will tackle the next stage of his life with the same enthusiasm and commitment that he showed as player.”
Springbok coach Erasmus has stated previously that he was still keeping an eye on Lambie with the 2019 Rugby World Cup in mind.
“He was a wonderfully balanced player, always humble, and he treated everybody the same. I think one of his great strengths was his consistently calm temperament,” Erasmus said.
“Pat gave great service to the Springboks and the Sharks, and I want to wish him well with his future endeavours.”
I can’t put into words how grateful I am for the rugby journey I’ve had. There are so many people who have made it possible, and so many who have shown love and support. Thank you to you all! On to new adventures...— Patrick Lambie (@PatLambie) January 19, 2019