EASTBOURNE, England (Reuters) - Rivalry for the flyhalf position in the South African side has brought out the best in all three candidates for the job, the most recent incumbent Pat Lambie said on Tuesday.
Who gets picked for the number 10 jersey for the Springboks’ opening game at the Rugby World Cup against Japan in Brighton on Saturday has been a matter of much conjecture.
Lambie was first choice for the Boks in their last outing, kicking 16 points in a 26-12 win over Argentina in Buenos Aires last month.
He had taken over from Handre Pollard following the home loss to the same team a week earlier, but it is far from certain who will get the nod from coach Heyneke Meyer.
“The rivalry has been really good. It’s brought out the best in all of us,” Lambie told repoorters of his relationship with 21-year-old Pollard, seen as a future Bok star, and kicking machine Morne Steyn, who was first choice at the last World Cup.
”We all get along really well. There aren’t any hard feelings and we’ve all made a commitment to back each other.
“We all want the same thing -- to play every minute of every game - but you can’t hold it against a player who is in the same position as you and gets selected,“ he added. ”He’s doing his best.”
Lambie, 24, is better known as a utility back for South Africa, with the majority of his 44 caps coming off the bench but he is pleased to be concentrating on the flyhalf role.
“I guess that does make a difference, although I’ve been selected as part of the squad, and if I’m selected in a position other than flyhalf I’d be very happy to fulfil that role as well,” he said.
“It has been really nice in the last couple of games to swap in just at flyhalf. It gives you a chance to work on particular things you need as a flyhalf and how we want to play the game.”
Lambie played fullback for all South Africa’s games at the 2011 World Cup with Steyn at number 10.
But the 31-year-old Steyn, hero of the series win over the British and Irish Lions in 2009, is now third in the queue without an appearance for the Boks in the last 12 months.
Editing by Neville Dalton