“Pat Lambie is going to play at No 10, that’s it,” White said unequivocally this week. “He is not going to play anywhere else for the Sharks except at flyhalf.”
White, who dropped the Brumbies to head the Sharks in October, brought the team together to train for the first time this week.
A squad of 39 players, sans the eight Sharks currently touring Europe with the Springboks, gathered on Monday for their first class session with the man nicknamed “The Professor”.
Without getting hands on with Lambie yet, White has already sought to put an end to the versatile 23-year-old being messed around between positions.
Said White: “I think it is impossible for a player to improve if one week he plays ten minutes as a fullback and the next week starts as a flyhalf and after that is on the bench as a utility back.”
“Lambie is a very good talent. And because he is so talented he can actually get messed around. It reminds me a bit when Brent Russell was here.
“He can play so many positions but he is always on your bench because he can never find a position he can settle in although he is good enough.
“I’m going to make sure I give him confidence that everything we do is to make him the best in that position.
“Whatever the national coaches do is up to them. At least Lambie can get his head around the fact that he will play in that position and improve every single week.”
The former World Cup- winning Springbok coach had to deal with a similar conundrum at the Brumbies when he had to decide who played flyhalf between Christian Lealiifano and Matt Toomua, who were both capable at No 10 and 12. Lealiifano has been a revelation at inside centre but both did well enough to earn call ups to the Wallabies this year with Toomua impressing at flyhalf.
White is renowned for his ability to extract the best from players, having taken a crippled Springbok side to World Cup glory in 2007 and a faded Brumbies outfit to the Super Rugby final this year.
“Other coaches might have started Lealiifano at No 10 but I had to make my mind up about whom I thought was a No 10 and whom I thought was a No 12.
“I then had to give them confidence that they could play there as many times as they could together as combination and end up with them becoming better players.”
Lambie played at flyhalf for the Sharks throughout this year’s tumultuous Super Rugby campaign but featured at fullback for the Boks during the Rugby Championship. He has since been moved back to flyhalf for the end of year tour, starting at pivot in last week’s 28-0 win over Scotland at Murrayfield.