Rassie Erasmus believes in the squad value of Pat Lambie’s skill and experience and the former Sharks captain is one of 10 overseas-based players Erasmus wants in his 2019 World Cup squad.
Erasmus, who attended the weekend’s Test between England and Wales, is spending the week in Japan assessing the logistics of the 2019 World Cup Springboks’s base.
Erasmus was impressed with the physicality of the contest at Twickenham and felt the difference was that England was tactically very smart. He felt their kicking plan was also very good, in concept and equally effective in execution.
He was extremely complimentary of Owen Farrell’s influence on England’s success.
Erasmus believes players like Lambie, Bismarck du Plessis, Frans Steyn and JP Pietersen add rugby intellectual capital to the Springbok squad and he was at pains to stress that the value was in building a squad and not specific to a run on XV.
He felt all four players could also be pivotal to mentoring younger players within the squad and that there would be a clear plan around how to use the veterans in his overseas-based plans.
It also appears likely that the core of these players will be involved in the Springboks’ one-off Test against Wales in Washington DC and that the bulk of the match 23 to play England in Johannesburg a week later will come from South Africa’s Super Rugby franchises.
Erasmus has a specific plan with each player and it relates directly to those areas in which he feels there is a vulnerability when assessing the depth of a Springbok squad of 30.
Lambie can play 10, 12 and 15 and also be invaluable if used to close out matches in the last 20-30 minutes.
Rassie’s overseas-based 10
Vincent Koch (Saracens), Willie le Roux and Juan de Jongh (both Wasps), Faf de Klerk (Sale), Frans Steyn, Bismarck du Plessis, Jan Serfontein (all Montpellier), Duane Vermeulen and JP Pietersen (both Toulon) and Pat Lambie (Racing 92).
The Welsh Test is scheduled for June 2nd and the England series starts in Johannesburg on June 9, followed by Tests in Bloemfontein (June 16) and at Newlands in Cape Town on June 23.