Burger 'could be even better'
Schalk Burger (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - Western Province coach Allister Coetzee
believes Schalk Burger could return an even better player he was before his long layoff.
Burger, 30, has missed the last 18 months of rugby, first due to a knee injury and then several ailments, including contracting bacterial meningitis.
He was on Wednesday included on the WP bench
for their Currie Cup clash against Free State in Bloemfontein on Friday.
Coetzee, in an interview with Die Burger's website
, said the flank is eager to get going.
"I can't see why he can't be even better than before. He is well rested," said Coetzee.
Coetzee said there will be no pressure on Burger to perform, but added that his return is a big bonus for the team.
He said Burger is fit enough to play at least 20 minutes of rugby.
"He looked really sharp during practice this week. It’s just like a guy who hasn’t ridden a bike for a while - you get back on and you know how to do it. I don’t think it will be long before we see the old Schalk back," said Coetzee.
Kick-off at the Free State Stadium is at 17:05 on Friday.Teams:Free State Cheetahs:
15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Riaan Smit, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Robert Ebersohn, 11 Piet Lindeque, 10 Elgar Watts, 9 Sarel Pretorius
, 8 Boom Prinsloo, 7 Oupa Mohoje, 6 Lappies Labuschagné, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Freddie Ngoza, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Hercu Liebenberg, 1 Schalk van der Merwe.
Substitutes: 16 AJ le Roux, 17 Rossouw de Klerk, 18 Francois Uys, 19 Davon Raubenheimer, 20 Piet van Zyl, 21 Rayno Benjamin, 22 Willie du PlessisWestern Province:
15. Gio Aplon, 14. Gerhard van den Heever, 13. Michael van der Spuy, 12. Damian de Allende, 11. Cheslin Kolbe, 10. Kurt Coleman, 9. Nic Groom, 8. Nizaam Carr, 7. Michael Rhodes
, 6. Deon Fourie (captain), 5. De Kock Steenkamp, 4. Tazz Fuzani, 3. Pat Cilliers, 2. Scarra Ntubeni, 1. Steven Kitshoff
Substitutes: 16. Michael Willemse, 17. Brok Harris
, 18. Gerbrandt Grobler, 19. Schalk Burger, 20. Josh Katzen, 21. Louis Schreuder, 22. Demetri Catrakilis
Referee: Marius Jonker