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Rugby | SA Rugby

Lambie not going against doctor’s advice

Patrick Lambie’s decision to sign a three year contract with French club Racing 92 was not made against the advice of medical specialists and continuing his rugby career does not mean he is taking a big risk.

In announcing the early release from Lambie’s joint contract with the Cell C Sharks and with the Springboks, Sharks doctor Alan Kourie quashed concerns that after the concussion that Lambie has suffered on two separate occasions in the past year it was inadvisable for the former Sharks captain to continue playing rugby.

“Patrick is fully recovered from his concussion sustained in May this year and has been for some time now,” said Kourie.

“He has been training symptom free for the last two months while also enjoying activities he loves outside of the rugby setting like golf and surfing.”

The latest Lambie concussion was sustained when he clashed with a teammate while captaining the Sharks against the Southern Kings at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium during Super Rugby in May. As Lambie was out for a considerable period last year after being concussed in a collision with Ireland forward CJ Stander in a test match at Newlands last June, when Lambie was helped from the field in Port Elizabeth there were immediate concerns about his future in the game.

However, Kourie has denied that Lambie’s career was in the balance and says that a period of rest was recommended.

“Our suggested time off for him to recover was between three to six months and he currently sits nicely in the middle of that period,” said the Sharks team doctor.

“Most importantly he is in a great mental space and he looks forward to playing rugby again, at the highest level.”

Lambie’s decision to move to France does not rule him out of playing at the highest level again, and the change of environment and, hopefully, a break from the sequence of injuries that have kept him from the playing field for long periods – he was out with a torn bicep for the first half of Super Rugby before being concussed in his comeback match – could rejuvenate his career.

With 56 caps, Lambie has played more than the stipulated number of games that an overseas based South African player needs to in order to qualify to play for the Springboks. Of course, it will be harder for him to force his way into the reckoning while based overseas as Bok coach Allister Coetzee has made it clear he will stick with home based players except where there is an obvious necessity to choose an overseas based player.

However, Lambie, together with his wife Kate, decided that he needed to break the cycle by moving away from Durban, something he says is hard for him to do as he grew up as a supporter of the Sharks (his father Ian played for Natal in the 1980s).

“The decision to leave a place that will always remain home was not an easy one. However after a number of setbacks over the last few years, the thinking was to break the cycle and go and experience something different in a new environment,” said Lambie in the press release issued by the Sharks to announce his departure.

“I would like to thank the Sharks and SA Rugby for their understanding and support. I would also like to thank all the people that have shown their love and support for me throughout my career,” he added.

“I have loved my time at the Sharks and I leave with extremely fond memories. This is a fresh start for Kate and I though, and we look forward to a change of scenery and an exciting new adventure in our lives. I would love to return home one day and potentially finish off my playing days by running onto Growthpoint Kings Park a few more times.”

There will be incentive for Lambie to return and play for the Sharks as he is close to the magical three figure mark when it comes to caps for the franchise.

Lambie made his debut for the Sharks under the coaching of John Plumtree in 2009 and was selected for the Springboks for the first time a year later after he was the spearhead of the Sharks’ excellent win in the 2010 Currie Cup final against Western Province.

“It is sad to say goodbye to a great player that embodies our values and who has been a wonderful ambassador for our brand,” said Sharks head coach Robert du Preez.

“We respect his decision and thank him for his dedication and loyalty over the years. He will be missed.”


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