Burger relaxed ahead of QF

2011-10-05 12:04

Wellington - Schalk Burger admits with a shrug and a smile that the vast experience South Africa has to draw on for their Rugby World Cup quarter-final against Australia on Sunday may be a two-edged sword.

Relaxed and jovial as he spoke to reporters on a rain-drenched Wednesday afternoon, the veteran Springboks flank said "if we win on Sunday it will probably be down to experience and if we lose it will probably be down to our age."

South Africa will likely name one of their all-time most-experienced line-ups for the knockout match against a comparatively young but rising Australian team. Burger said teams don't win rugby matches on experience alone, but conceded in the tight contest expected on Sunday it would be a factor.

The Springboks are the reigning world champions and Burger was being urged to say the experience they gained in winning the World Cup four years ago will give them a substantial advantage over Australia in a sudden-death match. He was reluctant to comply.

Whichever way the question was framed, he batted it away. He accepted, as Australia has, that Sunday's match will likely be tight and its outcome may be decided in the final seconds. It would stand to reason that a team which had previously played in that situation might have the advantage against a rival less used to that pressure.

But he said South Africa's World Cup victory in France four years ago was not necessarily a decisive factor.

"Four years is quite a long time ago, so hopefully when it comes down to the last seconds we are five metres out from the Wallabies tryline and not vice versa," he said. "At the end of the day, yes it helps (having been) there but when it gets tight like that, you call on individuals to make the right decisions and you call on individuals not make mistakes ... it doesn't matter whether you have a hundred caps or five caps."

Burger, instead, suggested Australia's youth, enthusiasm and the confidence the Wallabies drew from recent successes against South Africa might be more influential factors.

"I think it helps being there and having experienced it before, but then at the end of the day your caps are not going to win you a rugby match," he said. "You have got to go out there and play to the best of your capabilities. So I think our (last) match against Samoa we did well enough to win the match but obviously there are some areas we want to improve on, particularly for this game.

"It's an important match, it's a knockout, the Wallabies are a quality side. These guys have won the Super Rugby competition and Tri-Nations so they're in form, most of their players, so it's not going to be easy for us."

Burger agreed that if the Springboks lose on Sunday, that defeat is likely to see the dissolution of the world champion team - much of the squad has been together for most of the last eight years.

Many of the senior Springboks have signaled their intentions to retire from international rugby at the end of the World Cup, and their impending departure adds to the odds for which the team is playing.

"We haven't actually thought of losing," Burger said.

"Obviously, if we do get knocked out, this team has been together for eight years, a lot of guys are moving on.

"We will probably start thinking about that after the match, maybe drown our sorrows and say goodbye to a few friends. Yes, for this side it's important to finish well."

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  • Ya Beauty! - 2011-10-05 12:18

    like burger but juan has to be the next burger at no 8 and spies off the bench, alberts at lock with andreis......

      GHT - 2011-10-05 12:33

      Do you honestly think Juan will still be able to play in 4 years time? Not with his body. And if he manages to battle through a couple of half seasons, we will be stuck with the same old grandpa comments in 2015 like we are now.

  • Johnny-BB - 2011-10-05 12:24

    The Springboks have too much fire power. The Aussies don't stand a chance.

      Johnny-BB - 2011-10-05 12:35

      no, ...fake Johnny-BB, ....Protea-flower-team out in quarter final....!! ........genius PDV + grandpa Smit = bye-bye World Cup... ......he he he he he he ..!!! ..............Go All Blacks..!!!

      Johnny-BB - 2011-10-05 12:38

      Johnny, jy het mos gereken die Springbokke gaan nie eens die Pool fase oorleef nie. Hahahahaha. Hoe voel jy oor daai briljante voorspellings van jou, ou trilneus

      Sparkys - 2011-10-05 12:41

      JohnnyBB I agree with you, the Bokke will take this one and then all the way to the final!!

      Willis Blue - 2011-10-05 13:50

      I like the fake Johnny better, he speaks sense, unilke the normal drivel that spewnsfrom his namesake.

      Alan - 2011-10-05 14:05


  • Lida - 2011-10-05 12:39

    I am disappointed in Burger. Wrong attitude. We all stand behind the team but the team is not standing behind itself. Shame

      Hooflungdung - 2011-10-05 12:48

      Lida ... were did he say that???? ... to quote him ... "We haven't actually thought of losing," Burger said. - thats sounds like a confidant team to me, but then again I can read!

      PureAwesomeness - 2011-10-05 12:51

      Lida, one thing you should know, most of the time the media places words in people's mouths. Let me give you examples: Press: "So, Schalk, do you think you can win this game?" Schalk: "I think so, if we play well and stick to the gameplan, we can win" Headline "Schalk thinks Aussies a walk in the park"

      Coconut - 2011-10-05 12:57

      It is called mind games if you don't know.

      Sparkys - 2011-10-05 13:10

      Lida...time for you to take your afternoon dump

      Willis Blue - 2011-10-05 13:34

      Someone please help Lida

  • Anneleen - 2011-10-05 12:58

    Mentioning swords...may our knights take up Excalibur and wage the Bok-batlle...Bokke forever!!!!!!!!!!

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