Burger on intense 'three-day trial'

Wed, 13 Feb 2013 18:03
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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

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Fri, 28 April 2017
Highlanders v Stormers 07h35 Dunedin
Cardiff Blues v Zebre 18h05 Cardiff
Edinburgh v Dragons 18h35 Myreside
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Sat, 29 April 2017
Chiefs v Sunwolves 07h35 Hamilton
Reds v Waratahs 09h45 Suncorp Stadium
Force v Lions 11h55 Perth
Ospreys v Ulster 14h00 Liberty Stadium
Bath v Gloucester 14h00 Recreation Ground
Exeter Chiefs v Northampton Saints 14h00 Sandy Park
Saracens v Bristol 14h00 Allianz Park
Harlequins v Wasps 14h00 Twickenham Stoop
Leicester Tigers v Sale Sharks 14h00 Welford Road
Cheetahs v Crusaders 15h15 Bloemfontein
Treviso v Munster 17h05 Stadio Monigo
Kings v Rebels 17h30 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Connacht v Scarlets 18h35 Sportsground
Jaguares v Sharks 19h40 Buenos Aires
Sun, 30 April 2017
Brumbies v Blues 06h05 Canberra
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 23 April 2017
Clermont Auvergne v Leinster 27 | 22
Sat, 22 April 2017
Sharks v Rebels 9 | 9
Bulls v Cheetahs 20 | 14
Munster v Saracens 10 | 26
Force v Chiefs 7 | 16
Crusaders v Stormers 57 | 24
Highlanders v Sunwolves 40 | 15
Fri, 21 April 2017
Lions v Jaguares 24 | 21
Waratahs v Kings 24 | 26
Hurricanes v Brumbies 56 | 21
Mon, 17 April 2017
UP-Tuks v Maties 28 | 21
Sun, 16 April 2017
Northampton Saints v Saracens 25 | 27
Bristol v Wasps 21 | 36
Sat, 15 April 2017
Connacht v Leinster 24 | 37
Treviso v Edinburgh 21 | 6
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 8 3 0 5 17
Reds 8 2 0 6 10
Force 7 2 0 5 9
Waratahs 8 2 0 6 9
Rebels 7 1 1 5 7
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 8 8 0 0 36
Hurricanes 8 7 0 1 33
Chiefs 8 7 0 1 33
Highlanders 8 5 0 3 23
Blues 8 3 0 5 17
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 8 6 0 2 26
Bulls 8 3 0 5 14
Cheetahs 8 2 0 6 10
Sunwolves 8 1 0 7 5
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 8 7 0 1 32
Sharks 8 5 1 2 24
Jaguares 8 4 0 4 20
Kings 8 2 0 6 10