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Meyer 'can't work Schalk out'

2015-10-21 20:02
Schalk Burger (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Schalk Burger's 26 carries against Wales in the World Cup quarter-final were enough to earn him the man-of-the-match award this past Saturday. 

And, more importantly, it was a performance that helped the Boks to a place in the last four of the tournament. 

Nobody has carried the ball more than Burger at RWC 2015, and his importance to the Springbok cause is not undervalued by anybody close to the squad. 

Certainly not coach Heyneke Meyer.

"Schalk adds so much difference, especially around the park and in his leadership as well. It always starts with the tight five but the battle of the loose forwards is going to be immense (against the All Blacks on Saturday)," Meyer said at his team announcement on Wednesday.

READ: RWC 2015 the most entertaining yet

READ: Boks v All Blacks - 19 stats and facts

READ:Springboks' Test record against the All Blacks

The Bok coach has described this All Black side as the best to have played the game, and he has also heaped praise on their loose forward trio. He is expecting the contest between the loose forwards to have a major say in Saturday's Twickenham semi-final, but he has seen enough from his own to believe that they can win that battle.

"They (All Blacks) bring a lot of work rate. So in the past we’ve had big ball carriers in the loose forwards but the work rate wasn’t usually there," said Meyer.

"If you look at what Schalk did in the previous game, his work rate was immense. He’s doing brilliantly. He’s probably the fittest he’s been... Duane is also back to his best, Francois Louw is back to his best.

"A guy like Willem off the bench is amazing. He used to start for us, he brings something different and we’ve got a good blend there."

While Meyer is thrilled with Burger's current form, he does admit that there is a lot going on there that he sometimes doesn't understand.

"The great thing about Schalk is that I still can’t work him out. He’s an amazing human being," said Meyer.

"If you just look at what he’s been through, for him just to be alive... and that’s why he enjoys his life. I’m a little bit uptight at times and Fourie (Du Preez) as a captain as well, he’s more relaxed and I think you need that balance.

"Even before we go into battle I can see he’s still smiling and I think he’s not ready and then when he goes onto the field he’s a different human being."

Burger recovered from life-threatening bacterial meningitis in 2013.

Kick-off on Saturday is at 17:00 (SA time). 


South Africa:

15 Willie le Roux, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Fourie du Preez (captain), 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Schalk Burger, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira

Substitutes: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Jannie du Plessis, 19 Victor Matfield, 20 Willem Alberts, 21 Ruan Pienaar, 22 Pat Lambie, 23 Jan Serfontein

New Zealand:


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