Stormers still waiting on Burger

Date published: March 13 2013

Stormers coach Allister Coetzee says Schalk Burger is still not ready to return to action after twelve months on the sidelines.

Stormers coach Allister Coetzee says Schalk Burger is still not ready to return to action after twelve months on the sidelines.

Early last year, Burger suffered a knee injury which has since healed.

But then three weeks ago, he suffered with a troublesome calf and Coetzee said on Wednesday that he was unable to forecast when the burly Springbok flanker will be ready to lead the Stormers.

“Schalk's knee is fine and it is stronger than ever but although he's training, he's not ready to play,” said Coetzee.

“Schalk will not be considered for next week's match against the Brumbies and we don't really want to guess when he will be playing.

“There are improvements in terms of his fitness and his strength, but it's not where it should be.”

A number of first-choices, most notably number eight Duane Vermeulen, did not participate in Wednesday's training session in Bellville.

“All the players sitting on the benches are nursing niggles, but nothing serious,” said Coetzee.

“All the players will be up for selection against the Brumbies, and we'll have Jaco (Taute), Juan (De Jongh) and Michael Rhodes back.

“We have a bye this week and that gives us a chance to reflect and work on the things that will decide how we'll play against the Brumbies.

Coetzee said that his team won't be carried away by their superb display against the reigning champions, the Chiefs, last weekend.

“Our players have a culture of strong defence but we also know that we won't keep on winning matches by simply kicking penalties,” he said.

“We've had a slight tweak in mindset and that has allowed us to play more with the ball. That, however, makes us prone to mistakes and we're still working hard to find the balance between defence and attack.

“It is unlikely that there will be changes for the Brumbies game because we need to build the confidence of players. We've seen what confidence has done for a player like (Damian) De Allende. Earlier this year, I've heard people saying that De Allende is a good Currie Cup player but after three games he's shown that he belongs in Super Rugby.

“Now with Bryan (Habana) out we've got to think about who will play in our backline. Juan and Jaco are coming back and with Joe Pietersen having a 100 percent place-kicking record, we'll have to find place for him on the field.”

Coetzee said fly-half Elton Jantjies will not be given the place-kicking duties while Petersen was proving to be reliable and he would still be the first-choice number 10 for a while.

“Peter Grant has flown in from Japan and in recent weeks there he hasn't played much rugby,” said Coetzee.

“He showed when he came on as a substitute against the Chiefs that he has attacking flair and nearly cracked the defence to score try.

“He still needs to work on game playing (fitness) levels.”