Burger targets final win over McCaw

Date published: October 23 2015

1022.6666666666666x767__origin__0x0_Schalk_Burger_South_Africa_press_conference_World_Cup

Schalk Burger is hoping to win his final game against long-term rival Richie McCaw when South Africa take on New Zealand in the World Cup semi-final on Saturday.

Burger has won just two games in which both he and McCaw started, most recently in 2009 and admits it's impossible to compare with the world's most capped player.

Their first meeting actually came the last time the sides met at a World Cup, when the All Blacks knocked out the Springboks in the quarter-final, with Burger coming off the bench in the 29-9 loss.

Despite just one win in their last seven encounters, South Africa have regularly pushed New Zealand close in recent seasons, particularly at home, and Burger is hoping to sign off with a final win over McCaw.

"We've become good mates (with McCaw). We've played against each other since 2003," said Burger. 

"There have been a few fair contests. Unfortunately I've been on the losing end most of the times. Hopefully for me we can get a win over them tomorrow because it will give me some bragging rights. 

"It will be the last time we'll play against each other. He's a quality players. We can't really compare. It's almost like golfers trying to compare to Tiger Woods. 

"On the pitch we're equals, we've played each other a lot. We play a different style but both of us have a massive work rate so we find each other at the bottom of the rucks or tackling or carrying the ball a hell of a lot. Afterwards we'll share a beer and talk about days gone by."

South Africa were handed a boost with the news that Lood de Jager is fit for the semi-final after coming through the captain's run.

That gave Heyneke Meyer a fully-fit squad to choose from, and Burger highlighted their defence as the key to stopping the All Blacks reaching a record fourth final.

"The times we've beaten them, and there's a lot of times where I think we could have beaten them as well, we've come close. Every game we approach the same," added Burger.

"The big thing about them is their attack is phenomenal with their execution and their skillset. They put you under more pressure than any other team in the world. 

"The times we've beaten them, it starts with our defence, trying to not let them get tempo on the ball, trying to slow down their ball. We create a lot of opportunities against them because they play. There are a lot of turnovers. In the times we've beaten them, if we had seven opportunities, we scored all seven of them.

"The last few years we've lost against them, we created a lot of opportunities and probably taken half of our chances. Hopefully tomorrow we can convert a lot of try-scoring opportunities."

COMMENTS