Injury to keep Schalk out
Schalk Burger receives attention. (Gallo Images)
Cape Town – The Stormers will be without influential captain Schalk Burger for Saturday’s Super Rugby match against the Cheetahs.
Burger took a knock to his knee in the first half of Saturday’s 19-16 win over the Lions at Newlands.
The injury came just a day after Cheetahs captain Juan Smith suffered a serious injury against the Bulls.
The Stormers’ management confirmed on Sunday that Burger will not be considered for this coming weekend’s match.
Burger did not emerge for the second half on Saturday evening and it was said after the match that he had only left the field as a precautionary measure. However, he is due to consult a specialist on Monday to have the strain to his knee assessed.
The Stormers will be keeping fingers crossed that the injury is not as serious as that of Smith, whose participation in the World Cup is in the balance following the serious Achilles injury he sustained in Bloemfontein.
Apart from the concern over Burger, the Cape players are set to report for duty at their training base in Bellville in a positive frame of mind on Monday.
After all, the Stormers have bagged another 4 log points and youngster Gary van Aswegen has put up his hand as a quality flyhalf.
There is also a good chance that Gio Aplon may be available for the match against the Cheetahs.
Coetzee was delighted when he spoke about the performance of Van Aswegen. The 21-year-old slotted all three of his kicks at goal, distributed nicely and did well in defence.
“For any young player the first challenge is a physical one. Gary showed that he’s up to the task. Not all flyhalves can defend and he showed that he can,” said Coetzee.
“You know you have done your job when you have earned the respect of your senior players. Gary succeeded in doing that.”
Coetzee now has a few difficult selection calls to make.
Peter Grant looked sharp when he replaced Van Aswegen and his experience will count heavily in his favour. Van Aswegen started because Grant was still playing rugby in Japan the previous weekend.
Bryan Habana’s form is a concern. The Springbok wing is simply making too many mistakes, but it will take a brave coach to drop a player with such a big reputation. And then he also has to be sure that there is a better alternative.
Juan de Jongh’s ability to break the line could be valuable against the Cheetahs.
The Stormers are likely to concentrate on improving their set phases in this week’s training. They struggled with their set phases and this had a major impact on the performance.
“We take pride in our set phases and it wasn’t good. But we won the lineout that mattered and scored a try from it. We also adapted in the scrums and almost scored a pushover try in the second half,” said Coetzee.