No cotton wool treatment for Burger

Mon, 30 Sep 2013 18:09
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Western Province coach Allister Coetzee says they have no intention of wrapping fit-again flank Schalk Burger in cotton wool.

Western Province coach Allister Coetzee says they have no intention of wrapping fit-again flank Schalk Burger in cotton wool.

Burger made his much anticipated return to action in the final quarter of the 29-27 win over the Free State Cheetahs at the weekend after an 18-month injury lay-off and came through his 20-minute cameo unscathed.

Rather than limit his game time over the next few weeks, Coetzee believes the more Burger plays the more beneficial it will be for the Springbok stalwart.

“We’re not going to wrap Schalk in cotton wool - we’re going to go all out with him,” Coetzee said on Monday.

“I believe in his ability and he showed on Friday that despite his long lay-off, he can play at the required intensity for 20 minutes. He huffed and puffed at the end of the game but he came through well.

“We know it’s important to manage him, but if we never play him or only play him for 20 minutes, he’s never going to get back to full match fitness. Our thinking is sooner rather than later.”

The defending champions returned from their Bloemfontein trip with a clean bill of health and received a timely triple boost with the return to fitness of Frans Malherbe, Rynhardt Elstadt and Gary van Aswegen.    

“It’s great timing for us to come through a match injury free and to welcome back three players in Frans Malherbe, Rynhardt Elstadt and Gary van Aswegen,” admitted Coetzee.

“This is the part of the season that you want your best players and best combinations to play. There’s no more time for rotation - you have to have a settled team.”

Coetzee was noncommittal over possible changes to the starting line-up ahead of the clash with the Golden Lions at Newlands this weekend.

But following a match-winning cameo off the bench and with just two games remaining ahead of the play-offs, Demetri Catrakilis could find himself in the No.10 jersey.

“Demetri is completely over his injury, therefore he could come off the bench and perform like he did,” said Coetzee.

“He’s been out for a very long time but since he’s been in the 22 he’s been running with the team more often and has settled in nicely.

“He’s put his hand up, so we’ll look at the Lions and what we’ll be faced with but I have a fairly good idea of my selections already,” he added.

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Western Province 10 9 0 1 42
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Blue Bulls 11 5 0 6 27
Eagles 10 5 0 5 26
Leopards 10 4 0 6 24
Border 10 4 0 6 20
Falcons 10 3 0 9 19
Sharks 10 3 0 7 18
EP Kings 10 2 1 7 12
Namibia 10 0 0 10 1