Coetzee's plan for Burger

Wed, 01 Aug 2012 16:39
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Western Province coach Allister Coetzee hopes to 'ease back' veteran Springbok loose forward Schalk Burger through the Currie Cup competition.

Western Province coach Allister Coetzee hopes to 'ease back' veteran Springbok loose forward Schalk Burger through the Currie Cup competition.

Coetzee, who had to quickly put the disappointment of last week's Super Rugby semifinal loss by the Stormers behind him, will start Currie Cup preparations with WP on Thursday.

While a number of high-profile Stormers players will be on Springbok duty for most of the Currie Cup season, Coetzee might be able to call upon experienced players like Burger and Duane Vermeulen at some point - depending on how they recover from their knee injuries sustained during the Super Rugby season.

Coetzee revealed: "I spoke to [Bok coach] Heyneke Meyer earlier this week and he says both Schalk and Duane are in his plans, but I imagine they'd have to play some Currie Cup first to prove themselves.

"It's safe to assume that we'll definitely lose Eben [Etzebeth], Andries [Bekker], Bryan [Habana] and Jean [de Villiers] to the national team, so it would be great to have Schalla and Duane available at some point.

"Duane is not that far from taking a full part in training, whereas Schalk could be a bit longer, but we will be monitoring them both and, with a bit of luck, could have them in WP colours during the Currie Cup."

Coetzee said he has two aims ahead of the 2012 Currie Cup season - adding to the union's depth and chasing silverware in the process.

Speaking just days after the Stormers went down to the Sharks in a brutal Super Rugby semifinal clash at Newlands, Coetzee felt the Currie Cup would be a good way to re-focus his charges at this stage of the season.

"We have to move on now," said Coetzee, in reference to last Saturday's disappointing loss, adding: "The Currie Cup is a great opportunity for us to change our focus and get back on the bike, so to speak."

WP made it into the top four of last year's Currie Cup, despite some of their top players being on World Cup duty with the Springboks, but in their absence the likes of Steven Kitshoff, Nizaam Carr, Siya Kolisi, Nic Groom, Marcel Brache - to name just a few - carried the Province flag.

"We want to deliver our best on the field at all times," said Coetzee, adding: "But we also want to ensure that we continue to give our younger players an opportunity to get game time at Currie Cup level.

"It's a great breeding ground, as we saw last year with players like Kitshoff, Nizaam and Siya Kolisi - all of whom stepped up at Super Rugby level in 2012. I'm expecting guys like Skarra Ntubeni, Nic [Groom], Marcel [Brache] and JP du Plessis to get the chance in the Currie Cup to show what they can do.

"Of course, it's all about a balance - in terms of giving younger players a chance and ensuring that you keep developing your players in terms of their performances in all aspects of play."

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