Rugby Championship

Schalk: We need to close out the game

2015-07-24 21:00
Schalk Burger (Gallo Images)

Johannesburg – A victory would do wonders for their confidence but Springbok captain Schalk Burger believes a higher premium should be placed on how they go about their business against the All Blacks at Ellis Park, Johannesburg on Saturday.

The stand-in captain is under no illusions that the Boks need to make a step-up from last week’s narrow 24-20 defeat to the Wallabies in Brisbane and find a way to close out tight encounters.

“It is important to get a good result but the way we play will be quite important, last week after 60 minutes when we were up 20-7 we couldn’t close out the game,” Burger said in Johannesburg on Friday.

“In World Cups we might get off to a good start or you could be under pressure where it is hard to close out a game. This weekend, if you look at the history between the two teams it is going to be a tight fixture.

"Hopefully for us we can have some composure and find a way to close out the game."

With the 2015 Rugby World Cup fast approaching, Burger said the team was looking to build some positive momentum before the start of the global showpiece.

“The World Cup is getting closer and for us, we want to win as many games as possible and get some momentum,” Burger said.

“In sport when you’ve got momentum it is the easiest thing it just comes naturally and if you haven’t got it then you strive for it and it is tough to get.

“It is important for us to get the victory, it is our first home Test in South Africa this season so we are looking forward to it.”

The Boks will be looking to claim their first back-to-back victories over the All Blacks since 2009 after they won the corresponding fixture in 2014 thanks to Pat Lambie landing a last-minute penalty kick.

The fact that the two sides could face each other in a possible semi-final at the World Cup would add further impetus to go away with a psychological edge over the other.

“I don’t think there is added pressure because it is a World Cup year, in every Test there is pressure, and in any Test where it is one-versus-two in the world, New Zealand against South Africa, it is a great occasion,” Burger said.

“It is up to us to live up to that challenge, the All Blacks with the Haka, is about them laying the challenge down to us.

“Our job is to bring to the table what we’ve got as the Springboks.”

Burger, who will form a new loose trio with Heinrich Brussow and Francois Louw, said having two open-side flankers in the team would not require anything different from him as the eighthman.

While both flankers naturally gravitate towards breakdown play, Burger did not believe he would have to take on a more ball-carrying role.

“It stays the same, obviously traditionally they are both open-side flankers, but all of them like to be involved in more facets than just fetching, they want to carry the ball, they want to play,” Burger said.

“Me and Flo has played together for ages from the Stormers days, so it comes quite natural and I’ve had the privilege to play with Heinrich for a few years at the Springboks.” 


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