Meyer warms to Lambie

Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer has confirmed Pat Lambie will be considered as a 10 option for the Boks’ end of year tour.

Meyer told Keo.co.za he had been impressed with Lambie’s performances for the Sharks in recent weeks and that the player gives him options at flyhalf and fullback.

Meyer initially saw Lambie more as a specialist fullback, but said that the player had worked hard at certain aspects of his game when with the Bok set-up and that he had translated that into performance in the Currie Cup.

‘I told Pat to work on his tactical kicking. He has really improved in that area and we will look at him as a 10 as well,’ said Meyer, who also confirmed he will assess the form of European-based South Africans playing in the Heineken and European Shield competitions.

‘We showed during the Rugby Championship that if we believe an overseas-based SA player would add value to the strength and depth of the national squad we would include him,’ said Meyer, in reference to the selections of Ruan Pienaar and Francois Louw, both of whom completed the competition as starting options.

‘The tour will provide a last opportunity in the year to assess form and value of players, with short and long term goals in mind. In 2013 I’d like to have the core of the squad settled as we work towards being successful in every Test and fine tune a squad capable of success at the World Cup in 2015.’

Meyer said injury to Andries Bekker was unfortunate and an emphasis would be on the depth at No 5 lock. He singled out the form of Eben Etzebeth and Flip van der Merwe and added that he would turn to an overseas-based SA option only if he believed there was not a player(s) of similar quality in South Africa in said positions.

‘If two players are of similar pedigree I will always first go with the guy in South Africa. The guy playing overseas has to be decidedly better to what is available at the time of selection.’

Meyer is meeting with the selectors of Thursday and confirmed much of the week has been spent working through footage of Heineken Cup games involving potential tour candidates.

‘The core of the Rugby Championship squad will travel if fit, but we are not going to look past a player who is overseas if his form is outstanding and we believe he would be an asset to the national squad.’

Veteran Springbok and former Bulls lock Bakkies Botha has been in good form for Toulon and he could be one of a select few South Africans abroad to make the squad.

Schalk Brits has been a standout performer for Saracens but his is not a name Meyer bandies about and injuries to South African-based props could see the Bok coach look north for tour replacements.

Louw (Bath) and Pienaar (Ulster) will make the squad again.