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Rejuvenated Schalk Burger raring to go
January 17, 2013, 12:03:08

Ex Supersport

Schalk Burger is determined to make up for a frustrating year sitting on the sidelines by delivering a fitting response to the many who questioned whether he would play again after the debilitating knee injury that put him out.

The Springbok flank, announced as the Stormers captain for the season at a press conference in Herm[removed] on Wednesday, is back in the thick of things after watching rugby from the stands since he was injured leading the franchise in their first game of the 2012 Super Rugby campaign.

That was 11 months ago, and Burger clearly believes it was 11 months too many to be out of the sport that he excels at.

You do build up a bit of extra motivation when you are sitting on the sidelines for a year and watching everything unfold without being part of it,” said Burger.

“Regarding the captaincy, it’s not a big issue. We have a lot of leaders in the team and as a group we ensure we lead the team in the right direction. I just do the post-match interviews and deal with you guys, that sort of thing.”

There were whispers in the Cape towards the end of last year that Burger may not play again, and until he actually takes the field and leads the team in his trademark robust style, they may well persist.

Burger says he was made well aware of what was being said while he was sitting out, and it has added to his resolve to make this year a big one for him personally.


“When you are out of rugby you spend a lot of time standing in supermarket queues because that is what you do when you’re not playing. I had many people come up to me last year and ask me if I was still playing, whether I had retired from rugby.

"And yes, all those questions have added an additional spur for me to give it a big effort and make it clear I am definitely still playing.”

Super Rugby is a very different level to the domestic Currie Cup, but Burger was heartened by Western Province’s win over the Sharks in last year’s final.

“We had an 11-year drought, and 11 years is a long time to go without winning a trophy,” he said.

We felt that in recent years we had put ourselves in positions to do it without quite rounding it off, and we tended to fall just short. So it was good to break through the mental barrier in the Currie Cup and get a trophy at last.

"I think that will do great things for our confidence going into this season. Obviously Super Rugby is a big competition and we would like to win it after challenging so well over the past three years.”

The Stormers have finished in the top two on the final log in every one of those three seasons but twice they got knocked out in the semifinal and once in the decider, by the Bulls at Orlando Stadium in 2010.

Burger feels the experience of previous years will count for something this year, or at least he hopes so, and he also feels there is greater depth that will help sustain the Stormers’ challenge.

We have a couple of Lions players who have been added to the group and a lot of young players made their mark last year,” said the Stormers captain.

All the former Lions players – some are on short-term loan contracts and others have moved to the Cape permanently – were in attendance at Wednesday’s session in Herm[removed], which is part of a week-long pre-season training camp.

The only player who did not participate was utility forward Michael Rhodes, but the former Lions and Sharks player was on the field absorbing the words of Stormers forward coach Matt Proudfoot.

Backline players Elton Jantjes and Jaco Taute were both introduced to the Cape media for one-on-ones afterwards, and they said they were pleased to be part of the Stormers vibe as the franchise approaches the new season.

The good news for Stormers fans is that Burger and the former Lions players were not the only additions to the group that won the Currie Cup last October.

Also back in attendance after missing out on the last stages of the Currie Cup were hooker Tiaan Liebenberg, lock Andries Bekker and loose-forwards Nizaam Carr and Rynhardt Elstadt.

The only injury problem faced by the Stormers a month out from the season concerns hooker Scarra Ntubeni, who is out for four weeks. Coach Allister Coetzee confirmed that the search for a back-up player continues.

Tiaan (Liebenberg) is training again but hooker is a specialised position and we need back-up in that area so we are on the look-out,” said Coetzee.

The coach said the camp had been a success and the decision to go into it with just 37 players as opposed to the 50-odd of 2012 was paying off.

We found out who the players who can play Super Rugby were during the Currie Cup so there was no need for a big group this year,” said Coetzee

Indeed WP beat a virtuall yfull strength sharks sid ewith a decidely seconstring team. Folks have to realise the most likely side to fly the SA flag this year is the Mighty Stormers.  No squawks from the guppies or bulle supporters please.  Nz oaks be silent as you contemplate your worst nightmare.

Consider for a moment (Don't dwell on it too long lest fear paralisis you) the following Beeno power pack:

Kitshoff (Watch this boy this year) Tiaan, Malherbe, Bekker, Etzebeth, Burger, Vermuelen and Elstadt.

940 kg of mobile beef. Then in second half having munched the opposition we speed it up a bit.

Bench, Deon Fourie, Cilliers/Harris (both sides) Kolisi and  Rhodes.




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RE: Rejuvenated Schalk Burger raring to go
January 17, 2013, 12:20:49

Schalk will be a handy addition to provide experience but its a poor call as per usual by Coetzee. For the most Schalk is done and Kolisi, Elstadt and Vermeulen are better starting options. Leaving one of these players on the bench for Schalk would be a poor call.


I suppose Elstadt could be moved to lock to accomodate Schalk, One certainty is that Schalk should not be considered for the Boks, his best days are long gone and that serious injury will have further set him back.


Forget Schalk, he is another Jean, great in their day but well and truely done now


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RE: Rejuvenated Schalk Burger raring to go
January 17, 2013, 12:30:24

Snapster one cant say before one sees what effect the knee op has had. At 29 he is not done yet and has had a good, needed rest.

Coetzee must be quite happy with his recovery to have made him captain. We shall see.


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RE: Rejuvenated Schalk Burger raring to go
January 17, 2013, 12:30:31


Burger may be raring to go - but only his performances will ultimately count - nothing else will really be of consequence.   As the Stormers captain he will have to lead by example and that woud be the long and the short of the matter.

It would reduce the chances of Kolisi considerably - he may end up on the bench if he is lucky.   Kolisi played extremely well in his first few Stormer games - but in subsequent games he fizzled out and before his injury he really was average in performances.   Matter of fact Fourie was much better than Kolisi - when he was forced to take over as a loosie and I think that is where he will play in the coming season. 


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RE: Rejuvenated Schalk Burger raring to go
January 17, 2013, 12:39:02

Spot on Mike. Burger is an unkown until we see him play. How will his pace be. Will the need stand up to gam etime etc.

However if he has recovered I agree that Kolisi is third in line for the 6 jersey. I noted as well how Kolisi had faded as the seson went on. I expect him to be better this year and to play off the bench more to use his pace to put sides away.

Deon Fourie was the best number 6 in the country and can only be described as world class. We may find Burger at 7 of course and Deon at 6. I note however, if it means much, that Elsadt was chosen in the squad as a lock and Deon as a hooker.

In a long season one can ensure that all players get a shot and top players are not overplayed. The Stormers have nice depth and must use it.


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RE: Rejuvenated Schalk Burger raring to go
January 17, 2013, 12:44:03

But Kolisi, Elstadt and Vermeulen are better players than Schalk. I like Schalk but there are better loosies about


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RE: Rejuvenated Schalk Burger raring to go
January 17, 2013, 12:57:37

A girl, Burger was SA Player of the year as recently as 2011. If he has recovered from injury I see no reason why at 29 he cannot be a force this year.

One cannot be totally dogmatic on this one given how long he has been out. Has he still really got the motivation as well. I don't expect him necessarily to hit top form immediately. We saw with Vermuelen how he needed  a number of games to really get going - which he did against England.

The only question with my loose trio is whether it has sufficent pace for certain matches. But Deon and Kolisi provide that if necessary and Carr is also useful. Wonder if Koster will play in the Super 15


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RE: Rejuvenated Schalk Burger raring to go
January 17, 2013, 13:22:13

Cant say I agreed with his selection as player of the year in 2011.  I rate Schalk, he puts his body on the line - the issue I have with him is that he tends to be one dimensional. He targets traffic instead of seeking space.

There are better loosies about - Kolisi, Elstadt, Vermeulen, Coetzee, Alberts, CJ Stander, Arno Botha and Brussouw are all better options and would make my Bok squad before Schalk

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