Schalk: Time is on our side

2015-07-02 15:28
Schalk Burger (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - The exhaustive list of Springbok injuries may be cause for concern, but Schalk Burger believes time still favours the national side ahead of this year’s Rugby World Cup in England, starting in September.

Aiming for his fourth World Cup appearance, Burger has "been there" before and even had to survive a brush with death to get back in contention.

With Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer poised to select five loose forwards, Burger’s name could be the first he writes down due to his ability to play both sides of the scrum and at eighthman.

"I suppose it is always an advantage (playing in more than one position) but on the other side it is a bit of a disruption having all the injuries," said Burger at the Springbok camp in Johannesburg on Thursday.

"One thing we have at our disposal is a bit of time. For the immediate future we’ve got the World XV coming up next weekend." 

With 78 days to the start of the global showpiece, the Boks have six matches to get their squad pulling in the same direction while hoping some of their key players recover and regain form in time.

"The environment keeps on changing but the Springboks have an energy, despite our franchises not doing too well in Super Rugby," Burger said.

"But when you get here you remember we are still the second-best side in the world, and the public and everyone is still Springbok mad."

Burger said the Springboks would be hoping all their plans fall into place sooner rather than later despite the injury setbacks.

"You’ve got a good squad, with good players, so we are looking to work on some combinations and understand the way the Springboks want to play this year," he said.

"Starting next week it is important to get some good momentum going into what waits, which is the World Cup."

Meyer has been criticised by some for the number of seasoned campaigners he has included in his squad for the upcoming international matches.

Burger said striking the right balance between experience and youthful exuberance would be key going into the World Cup.

"Having been there and done it, I think it gives you an edge and you learn by making mistakes and the core group has learned from a lot of mistakes over the years and they are wiser for it," he said.

"Hopefully it stands us in good stead, but let’s first get there and get to the playoff games first, it is a lot of rugby and in rugby we take it game by game."

Burger added that experience counted for nothing if they were not in form and vying for a spot in the starting XV.

"There is no quick fix for experience and it is all about balance and in this team there is a lot of experience and good youngsters coming through," Burger said.

"Let’s hope we can get the balance right and most important is that we play well and enjoy it, and I think that is the big motto for this year."

Read more on:    springboks  |  rwc 2015  |  schalk burger  |  rugby

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