Burger comeback gathers pace
Schalk Burger (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - The good news for South African rugby fans is that talismanic flanker Schalk Burger is on the verge of making a comeback.
The Western Province loose forward took part in Monday's training session in Bellville, Cape Town, although his capacity to cope with the demands of scrummaging would be tested on Tuesday.
WP forwards coach Matt Proudfoot said at Monday's media briefing there was no time frame for Burger's return.
"Schalk is looking just fine and we'll have to see if he's able to participate 100% in training.
"On Tuesday he'll take part fully in live scrummaging sessions and that will give us an indication when we can start selecting Schalk.
"There is no expectation of how he'll progress.
"His selection will literally depend on how he feels physically."
Burger has been battling illness and injury since the start of the 2012 season.
More good news for WP was the return of 22-year-old tighthead prop Frans Malherbe, who was a member of the Springbok training group before picking up an injury in May.
"As is the case with Schalk, Frans will also have a live scrum session," Proudfoot said.
"Both players are eager to play although I can't say when they'll be back for a match."
Province captain Deon Fourie, who suffered a rib injury three weeks ago, also returned to training on Monday.
"It is good to have our captain back and we'll see how he goes at training this week before making a selection call," Proudfoot said.
"Michael Rhodes was also back at training today (Monday) and he's been good for us either at four or seven."
Flank Rynhardt Elstadt has not recovered from injury and his return may be a week away.
"Rynhardt is not quite ready yet and that gives (reserve) Gerbrandt (Grobler) more playing time in our system," Proudfoot said.
"With players like Gerbrandt getting game time, we are getting depth in the forwards."
Proudfoot said after last weekend's match against Griquas, Province needed to look at their scrum performance.
"I was happy with the show of intent at scrum time but we conceded a lot of penalties too.
"I still can't say where the problem was but I want to have a chat with the referees."
Province, who are in second place on the Currie Cup standings, will play away to the Free State Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Friday.