Gavin Rich - SuperSport
Cape Town - Schalk Burger would like to play at least one more season for the Stormers beyond this coming one, but the interest being shown in him by overseas clubs is testing his loyalty to the union and franchise he has represented throughout a career that started with his Currie Cup debut for Western Province in 2003, the supersport.com website
Japanese club Suntory Sungoliath are the latest overseas team said to be talking to Burger, with Japanese rugby website Japonrugby.net
stating that Burger has already agreed to join the club. At the start of the off-season it was disclosed that Burger was also being targeted by French club, Toulon, who already have several Springboks on their books.
However, if he has made an agreement to play for Suntory, who have fellow Bok Fourie du Preez playing for them, Burger is probably seeking a similar deal to Stormers team-mate Peter Grant
and the Sharks duo of JP Pietersen
and Ryan Kankowski
, who dove-tail their Japanese commitments with Super Rugby.
Earlier in the week, speaking after a Stormers press conference, Burger was adamant that he wants to continue playing for the Stormers.
“I am busy negotiating my contract so that I can play for the Stormers next year and hopefully we will reach agreement as I enjoy playing here and it would be nice to have another season,” said Burger.
“However, as you know I am not on a national contract at the moment and I am coming towards the end of my career so I do need to look at my options. We are talking and as I say, it would be nice to carry on playing for the Stormers.”
So it would appear Burger’s future in South Africa may depend on whether or not he makes the Bok side this year and is awarded a contract until 2015 by coach Heyneke Meyer
. After a nearly two-year break from the game due to injury and illness, Burger made a tentative comeback towards the end of the last Currie Cup season and did not do enough to win selection for the Springbok end-of-year tour to Wales, Scotland and France.
But in announcing the latest contracted group two weeks ago, South African Rugby Union (SARU( chief executive Jurie Roux
did emphasise that new players could be added when the Bok coach deems it is necessary. Burger reportedly played well in his first full game on South African soil since being injured in early 2012 when the Stormers visited Polokwane last week, and if he does show in the early rounds of Super Rugby that he is “the old Schalk”, his claims will be impossible for Meyer to ignore.
Burger, appointed Stormers vice-captain for the season, will continue his comeback by leading the Stormers in Friday night’s second warm-up fixture against the Kings in Port Elizabeth (19:00 kick-off).Teams:Kings:
15. Siviwe Soyizwapi, 14. Sergeal Petersen
, 13. Dwayne Jenner, 12. Shane Gates, 11. Eben Barnard, 10. George Whitehead, 9. Sonwabo Majola, 8. Devon Oosthuizen, 7. Stephan Zaayman, 6. Paul Schoeman, 5. Rynier Bernardo, 4. Steven Sykes (captain), 3. Charl du Plessis, 2. Albé de Swardt, 1. Brendon Olivier
Substitutes: 16. JC Oberholzer, 17. Lizo Gqoboka, 18. Pieter Stemmet, 19. Stephan Greeff, 20. Thembelani Bholi, 21. Kevin Kaba, 22. Tyler Paul, 23. Jaco Grobler, 24. Ronnie Cooke, 25. Michael Killian, 26. Brian SkosanaStormers:
15. Jaco Taute, 14. Kobus van Wyk, 13. Michael van der Spuy, 12. Damian de Allende, 11. Scott van Breda, 10. Demetri Catrakilis
, 9. Nic Groom, 8. Duane Vermeulen
, 7. Schalk Burger (captain), 6. Siya Kolisi
, 5. Manuel Carizza, 4. Rynhardt Elstadt, 3. Frans Malherbe, 2. Scarra Ntubeni, 1. Steven Kitshoff
Substitutes: 16. Deon Fourie
, 17. Oli Kebble, 18. Pat Cilliers, 19. Michael Rhodes
, 20. Jean Kleyn, 21. Nizaam Carr, 22. Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 23. Louis Schreuder, 24. Gary van Aswegen, 25. Pat Howard, 26. Devon Williams, 27. Ryno Eksteen