Schalk's successful comeback

Sat, 28 Sep 2013 09:22
Large schalk burger wp v cheetahs Large schalk burger walks off Large schalkburgerwptraining4

Springbok Schalk Burger returned to action on Friday after an 18-month lay-off through injury and illness.

Springbok Schalk Burger returned to action on Friday after an 18-month lay-off through injury and illness, as the Sharks and Western Province secured Currie Cup semifinals places.

The flank and 2007 World Cup winner came off the Province bench on the hour in a thrilling 29-27 triumph over the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein - while the Sharks won 31-25 against Lions, both away victories.

It was Burger's first appearance for the Cape Town outfit since injuring a knee 18 months ago in the opening round of the 2012 Super Rugby competition.

Capped 68 times by South Africa, Burger, 30, had his comeback delayed through a calf muscle injury, a cyst pressing on his spine and bacterial meningitis.

The illness kept the 2004 World Player of the Year in hospital for six weeks and he spent a further eight weeks indoors after being released.

Burger ran on to huge applause from the Free State Stadium crowd in Bloemfontein and helped Province transform an eight-point deficit into a last-gasp win.

Loose forward Michael Rhodes, back after serving a one-match ban for stamping on the face of an opponent, touched down following a driving maul.

Flyhalf Demetri Catrakilis converted and kicked a penalty to nudge defending champions Province into a two-point advantage.

Playmaker Elgar Watts restored Cheetahs' lead off a penalty only for substitute Catrakilis to drop a goal a minute from time and keep Province unbeaten this season.

Left wing Cheslin Kolbe was the other Province try-scorer, starting flyhalf Kurt Coleman kicked three penalties and a conversion, and Catrakilis a conversion, a penalty and a drop-goal.

Cheetahs, unlucky losers with a much-changed side after a drubbing at the hands of the Sharks last weekend, crossed the try-line through fullback Hennie Daniller (twice) and scrumhalf Sarel Pretorius.

Right wing Riaan Smit kicked two conversions and a penalty before retiring with a calf injury and Watts slotted a conversion and a penalty.

Young Sharks flyhalf Fred Zeilinga starred against third-place Lions at Ellis Park in Johannesburg, scoring 21 points in a victory that kept his team top of the table.

Zeilinga started the season as understudy to 2007 Rugby World Cup winner Butch James, but outstanding form has elevated him to first-choice status.

He helped the Durban team turn round a 20-16 half-time deficit with replacement scrumhalf Cobus Reinach scoring the crucial try 12 minutes from time.

There were also tries from fullback SP Marais and Zeilinga, who kicked two conversions, two penalties and two drop goals.

Loose forward trio Derick Minnie, Warren Whitely and Jaco Kriel dotted down for Lions and flyhalf Elton Jantjies slotted two conversions and two penalties.

Sharks and Province have 28 points each and need to win one of their two remaining league fixtures to clinch home semifinals in the oldest provincial competition.

The Lions have 21 points and the Cheetahs 17 - while the Bulls (11) are away to Griquas (10) Saturday in a game that could decide who finishes last and goes into a promotion-relegation playoff.

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Sat, 16 December 2017
Treviso v Scarlets 13h00 Stadio Comunale di Monigo
Montpellier v Glasgow Warriors 13h00 Altrad Stadium
Racing Metro v Castres 15h15 Stade Yves-du-Manoir
Leinster v Exeter Chiefs 15h15 Aviva Stadium
Bath v Toulon 17h30 Recreation Ground
Sun, 17 December 2017
Wasps v La Rochelle 13h00 Ricoh Arena
Clermont Auvergne v Saracens 15h15 Stade Marcel-Michelin
Ospreys v Northampton Saints 15h15 Liberty Stadium
Leicester Tigers v Munster 17h30 Welford Road
Fri, 22 December 2017
Wasps v Gloucester 22h00 Ricoh Arena
Newcastle Falcons v Harlequins 22h00 Kingston Park
Northampton Saints v Exeter Chiefs 22h00 Franklin's Gardens
Leicester Tigers v Saracens 22h00 Welford Road
Worcester Warriors v Leicester Tigers 22h00 Sixways
Sale Sharks v Bath 22h00 AJ Bell Stadium
RESULT SCORE
Fri, 15 December 2017
Ulster v Harlequins 52 | 24
Mon, 11 December 2017
Saracens v Clermont Auvergne 14 | 46
Sun, 10 December 2017
Exeter Chiefs v Leinster 8 | 18
La Rochelle v Wasps 49 | 29
Harlequins v Ulster 5 | 17
Sat, 09 December 2017
Munster v Leicester Tigers 33 | 10
Castres v Racing Metro 16 | 13
Northampton Saints v Ospreys 32 | 43
Toulon v Bath 24 | 20
Scarlets v Treviso 33 | 28
Fri, 08 December 2017
Glasgow Warriors v Montpellier 22 | 29
Sun, 03 December 2017
Harlequins v Saracens 20 | 19
Sat, 02 December 2017
Cheetahs v Scarlets 28 | 21
Munster v Ospreys 36 | 10
Wasps v Leicester Tigers 32 | 25
CURRIE CUP
MORE LOGS
Team P W D L Pts
Sharks 12 10 0 2 47
Western Province 12 7 0 5 37
Golden Lions 12 6 0 6 35
Blue Bulls 12 5 0 7 32
Free State Cheetahs 12 6 0 6 31
Pumas 12 4 0 8 27
Griquas 12 4 0 8 26