Loading...
Loading Live Scoring...
*All times CAT (GMT+2)

Rugby | Vodacom Super Rugby

Schalk’s return put on hold



Schalk Burger’s long-awaited return at the helm of the Stormers looks set to be put on hold, with the flanker now unlikely to play the Super Rugby opener against the Bulls at Loftus on 22 February.

This weekend’s warm-up fixture at the Cape Town Stadium against Boland was supposed to be Burger’s return to the playing field after an absence of a year.

This time though it is not the knee that ruled him out for so long that is troubling him, but the calf injury that kept him from playing against the Cheetahs this past weekend.

Last week it was described as a “tight calf”, but this week it has progressed into a “calf strain”, with coach Allister Coetzee saying that his recently reappointed squad captain will definitely miss Saturday’s game against Boland.

Having on several occasions said that players who don’t play against Boland won’t be considered for the first game of the competition, that clearly makes Burger an unlikely starter for Loftus.

“Schalk has strained his calf muscle and that puts him back. He’s so keen and trained so hard to get back, and it’s just unfortunate,” said Coetzee.

“The knee is 100 percent okay, but he has just strained his calf muscle. We are looking at a minimum two-week timeframe for him to sit out. With the training, he has strained his muscle a bit, but fortunately there is no tear. Schalk has been working hard, and after a long layoff, obviously the workload just got to his calf.”

Jean de Villiers, the national captain who led the Stormers with distinction last season, is a ready-made replacement for Burger as team leader, but it looks like he might be going to Pretoria without his regular midfield partner Juan de Jongh.

The Springbok outside centre had his hamstring assessed on Monday and it confirmed that, according to Coetzee, De Jongh has a tear that is “worse than a grade one”.

De Jongh injured the hamstring against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein this past weekend and is also out for a minimum of two weeks.

“It’s touch and go for the Bulls game for Juan but with an injury like that you have to be careful because you don’t want it to recur,” said Coetzee.

Even if everything goes perfectly for De Jongh in his rehabilitation he will only return to training in the week of the Bulls game so it would seem unlikely that he will be ready to play.

Coetzee has several options, including giving Damian de Allende, one of the heroes of Western Province’s Currie Cup win last season, a first start at Super Rugby level in the No 12 jersey, with De Villiers playing outside him.

De Villiers is expected back for Saturday’s game against Boland after missing last week following a minor operation.

Shop

The Poisoned Chalice
The Springboks have had several post-isolation coaches, and if they agree on nothing else, they will concur that everyone in the job suffers enormous pressure
R157.00
Coach - Marco Botha
At 34, Heyneke Meyer was fired as head coach of a Super Rugby team for the second time
R114.00
South Africa XV Ball
South Africa XV Ball Now: R119 Was: R200 Format:Sport EquipmentProduct type:SportDelivery:Dispatched within 24 hours (1 working day) This fan ball...
R119.00


Comments

More expert analysis and opinion from Sport24
The opinions expressed by Sport24 experts and bloggers are theirs alone, and do not necessarily represent those of SuperSport

Event Streaming

Channel Streaming

Other Live Streaming

Event Streaming

Channel Streaming

Latest Video Highlights

Sports Talk



Kyle Brown
Fans, fun and Sevens success
The week leading up to the Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens was a special one. The fans were passionate,...

Brendan Venter
Boks must think outside the box
Springbok supporters have every right to feel disenchanted after an underwhelming end-of-year tour.

Tony Johnson
Boks and Wallabies burnt in final outings
Playing the last test of the year in the last week of November has again proven to be a stumbling...

Gavin Rich
Boks learned quite a lot actually
When SuperSport returned from the Millennium Stadium to the studio discussion, it was mentioned...