2011 quarter-final still haunts Burger

Date published: October 14 2015

Springbok flanker Schalk Burger is keen to wipe out the memory of his team's 2011 RWC quarter-final exit against Australia with a strong performance in Saturday's last eight play-off against Wales. 

Four years ago, South Africa dominated every aspect of their quarter-final clash against Australia only to go down 11-9 in Wellington, New Zealand.

Although the match is best remembered for the controversial performance of former New Zealand referee Bryce Lawrence, the Boks will be hoping to rectify their early exit from the 2011 World Cup with a win over Wales on Saturday. 

Springbok stalwart Schalk Burger hopes Saturday's clash against Wales at Twickenham won't be a repeat of the 2011 World Cup quarter-final. 

"I suppose over a lot of bottles of red wine we have discussed that match more than any other match we have ever played,"  said Burger on Tuesday.

"It is one of those games that still haunts you to this day. 

"If we played it again, we would win nine times out of 10. That game we played all the rugby, but it was scoreboard pressure.

"That's the biggest thing that we learnt. It doesn't matter how much rugby you play, if you don't build scoreboard pressure on the opposition then you end up losing the match.

"Hopefully for us, we don't have a repeat of that for this quarter-final."

The Springboks kicked off their World Cup campaign with a famous loss against Japan that shocked the rugby community and Burger emphasised the loss as one of the lowest points in his career. 

"It's been like my career with ups and downs," he added.

"We started with the most famous loss in World Cup history against Japan and after that the next two weeks were probably my toughest as a Springbok,"

"Coming back to win against Samoa and Scotland, luckily enough we turned the corner, and topped our group.

"What's important about this group is we have pressed the reset button after we had that loss and now we have to concentrate on winning a quarter-final."

The Boks last faced Wales on their 2014 end-of-year tour in Cardiff, losing 12-6, and Burger warned that Saturday's game will be no walk in the park.

"Most teams have picked up injuries during this World Cup but if you look at the way they play, they're still working their systems," he explained.

"That's what protects you as a player."

Burger further mentioned that the Boks are expecting a fierce breakdown battle and compared Wales captain Sam Warburton to All Black stalwart Richie McCaw.

"Yes he's in the same league as McCaw," said Burger.

"In 2011 he (Warburton) was one of the standout players on the field.

"The way Wales defend coming off the line, they go for chop-tackling and this gives them an opportunity to get on the ball and steal it.

"If we want to have the same momentum in attack, we will need to look after him with a big emphasis on getting over the gain line."