CAPE TOWN – The ultimate professional, gentleman, a true legend. Those were just some of the ways in which Pat Lambie was described by some of his former teammates on social media after announcing his retirement from rugby on Saturday.
Springbok utility back Lambie, who played 56 Tests in total – 31 at flyhalf, 24 at fullback and one at wing – hung up his boots following recurring health problems after numerous concussions and head clashes.
At just 28, Lambie was in the prime of his career, so many of his mates in the Bok line-up over the years expressed their sadness at his early departure from the game.
The man himself posted on Twitter: “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...”
Long-time Sharks front-rower Tendai Mtawarira stated: “Gutted to hear of your premature retirement brother @PatLambie great player, great career, great teammate and a better friend. All the best with the next chapter.”
Also retired 124-cap wing Bryan Habana added: “Never nice seeing a player, especially one as talented and young as @PatLambie, have to call it a day through injury.
“From a young age the ultimate professional and exuded maturity far beyond his years. Congrats on everything you’ve achieved my friend.”
Wishing you and Kate everything of the best for the next chapter 🙌🏽 pic.twitter.com/2IXpBehneN— Bryan Habana (@BryanHabana) January 19, 2019
Centre Juan de Jongh: “So so sad to hear this gentleman @PatLambie had to call it a day on the game _ was a huge honor to play with & against you champion _ all the best with you and Kate on the next chapter #ThanksForLessons #StayBlessed #TheUltimateProfessional #TheGeneral”
Fellow flyhalf Morné Steyn: “Sad to see a great player and even better person have to call it quits!!All the best for your life going forward my friend @patlambie_ #Blessings”
Ex-Sharks lock Steven Sykes: “The coolest head on very big shoulders @PatLambie im sad to see you go out like this mate, you are a absolute legend and even better person! I had the honor of playing with you and was unlucky to play against you! Good luck mate #truegentlemen”
Bok centre André Esterhuizen: “A true legend of the game. Honoured to have played alongside you. Thank you @PatLambie”
Welsh referee Nigel Owens: “Best of luck for the future @PatLambie. Sorry to hear your retiring from playing. It was always a pleasure to referee you.”
Former Sharks fullback Louis Ludik: “It is incredibly sad to see you are done Paddy. Your humility, character and talent was so inspiring.
“One hell of a player and one of the best people you will ever meet. Was an absolute honor to have played alongside you. All the best to you and Kate.”
Racing 92 prop Census Johnston: “Sad to see one of the brothers stop their career prematurely. All the best for the most important part of life @PatLambie. Plaisir de faire partir de cette famille Racing92”@ashfakmohamed