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.

* Click here For all this seasons FIXTURES & RESULTS as well as the LATEST STANDINGS!

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Mon, 20 February 2017
CUT-Ixias v Shimlas 14h45 Bloemfontein
TUT v WSU 16h30 Pretoria
UWC v Rhodes 16h30 Cape Town
UKZN-Impi v Fort Hare 16h30 Durban
Maties v NMMU-Madibaz 16h30 Stellenbosch
NWU-Pukke v UCT-Ikeys 16h30 Potchefstroom
UJ v UP-Tuks 17h00 Johannesburg
Thu, 23 February 2017
Rebels v Blues 08h45 Melbourne
Fri, 24 February 2017
Highlanders v Chiefs 06h35 Dunedin
Reds v Sharks 09h00 Brisbane
Harlequins v Leicester Tigers 17h45 Twickenham Stoop
Edinburgh v Cardiff Blues 19h05 Myreside
Dragons v Leinster 19h30 Rodney Parade
Munster v Scarlets 19h35 Thomond Park
Sat, 25 February 2017
Sunwolves v Hurricanes 04h15 Tokyo
Crusaders v Brumbies 06h35 Christchurch
Waratahs v Force 08h45 Allianz Park
Saracens v Sale Sharks 12h45 Allianz Park
Northampton Saints v Worcester Warriors 13h00 Franklin's Gardens
Exeter Chiefs v Newcastle Falcons 13h00 Sandy Park
Cheetahs v Lions 13h05 Bloemfontein
Scotland v Wales 14h25 BT Murrayfield
Kings v Jaguares 15h15 Port Elizabeth
Ireland v France 16h50 Aviva Stadium
Stormers v Bulls 17h30 Cape Town
Sun, 26 February 2017
Bristol v Bath 11h00 Ashton Gate
Zebre v Ulster 12h30 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Treviso v Connacht 12h30 Stadio Comunale di Monigo
Wasps v Gloucester 12h30 Ricoh Arena
Ospreys v Glasgow Warriors 13h05 Liberty Stadium
England v Italy 15h00 Twickenham Stadium
CURRIE CUP
MORE LOGS
Team P W D L Pts
Free State Cheetahs 8 8 0 0 39
Blue Bulls 8 6 0 2 30
Western Province 8 5 0 3 27
Golden Lions 8 5 0 3 26
Sharks 8 5 0 3 25
Griquas 8 4 0 4 21
Boland 8 2 0 6 11
Pumas 8 1 0 7 10
EP Kings 8 0 0 8 1