Burger on intense 'three-day trial'

Wed, 13 Feb 2013 18:03
Large schalk burger stormers pens Large schalk burger stormers side Large schalk burger stormers look Large schalk burger stormers stan Large schalk burger media

Stormers captain Schalk Burger will undergo three days of intense fitness testing to determine if he will lead the team against the Bulls next week.

Stormers captain Schalk Burger will undergo three days of intense fitness testing to determine if he will lead the team in their opening Super Rugby match against the Bulls next week.

Burger, who missed the entire 2012 through a serious knee injury that required surgery more than once, is currently recuperating from a 'grade one' calf strain he sustained in pre-season training.

Saying the frustration of another injury is "extremely frustrating", Burger remained hopeful that he will lead the 2011 and 2012 South African conference winners out at Loftus Versfeld next Friday, February 22.

However, before that he will have to get through three days of intense training in Cape Town to see if the calf will hold up.

"If I could have cursed I would have," a clearly frustrated Burger quipped, when quizzed by the media about his latest setback.

"The knee was feeling very good, but then the calf setback came up," he said, adding that it was never serious, just a "minor" strain.

"It is very frustrating, especially from a conditioning perspective," Burger said, adding: "I could not train with the team for about two weeks and missed out on some game time.

"I have three tough days ahead and if I get through this week's conditioning I should be available to face the Bulls [in the opening round of the competition] next week."

He admitted that even if he is cleared to play, he there is no guarantee that he will be ion the field for a full 80 minutes in Pretoria.

"I think they'll play me till I go red in the face," he said, when asked if he has any idea how much game time he will get at Loftus.

However, I first have to get through this week.

"It is about conditioning and adding the workload to the leg. If the calf and everything feels good, I will have a chance to face the Bulls."

The other issue, after a year-long lay-off is the fact that he has hardly had any physical contact, other than a few tackles at training.

And that could be an issue against a team as physical as the Bulls.

Burger admitted that you can never really make up for a lack of physical contact it in training.

"You try to simulate it and try to get as close as possible to game fitness and taking contact.

"However, there is nothing like an actual match - we are trying simulate it, and I do take some tackles. I have taken some contact and it is feeling fine.

"We'll just have to wait and see - especially with a local derby against the Bulls, there is always a bit of extra intensity."

Burger admitted the calf injury has put his conditioning back a bit.

"I would have liked to have done more conditioning and get some game time. It didn't work out for me, so I'm a bit off conditioning wise."

He said the lack of conditioning and match fitness will add to his pre-match nerves.

"I would have loved to be able to sit there drinking a fizzy drink and a glass of water - now I'll have to have an energy drink."

Burgher also said he is, as he has done for the last few years, willing to play in any position among the loose forwards.

"I am pretty open to it [playing at either flank or at No.8].

"Obviously when you are younger you specialise in one position, but now I am keen to play anywhere.

"If I'm fit I'll probably play [at] No.6 at the Stormers, with a bit of a linking role.

"However, if I get on the field I just want to have fun - I haven't played for such a long time I can't wait to get out there."

By Jan de Koning

There are currently no matches being played
Fri, 27 November 2015
Leinster v Ulster 19h35 RDS Arena
Glasgow Warriors v Treviso 19h35 Ascoli Piceno
Edinburgh v Dragons 19h35 BT Murrayfield
Northampton Saints v Gloucester 19h45 Franklin's Gardens
Sat, 28 November 2015
Sale Sharks v Newcastle Falcons 14h30 AJ Bell Stadium
Exeter Chiefs v Harlequins 15h00 Sandy Park
Ospreys v Cardiff Blues 15h00 Liberty Stadium
Saracens v Worcester Warriors 15h15 Twickenham
Munster v Connacht 17h15 Thomond Park
London Irish v Wasps 17h30 Twickenham
Sun, 29 November 2015
Scarlets v Zebre 14h30 Parc y Scarlets
Leicester Tigers v Bath 15h00 Welford Road
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Waratahs 16 11 0 5 52
Brumbies 16 9 0 7 47
Rebels 16 7 0 9 36
Reds 16 4 0 12 22
Force 16 3 0 13 19
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Hurricanes 16 14 0 2 66
Highlanders 16 11 0 5 53
Chiefs 16 10 0 6 48
Crusaders 16 9 0 7 46
Blues 16 3 0 13 20
Pool SA
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 16 10 1 5 45
Lions 16 9 1 6 42
Bulls 16 7 0 9 38
Sharks 16 7 0 9 34
Cheetahs 16 5 0 11 26