Schalk to return off bench
Johannesburg - Schalk Burger will on Saturday return to the scene of his comeback to rugby in September last year in the same position he was then – playing off the bench.
According to the supersport.com website, the difference this time is that while the venue is again Bloemfontein and the Toyota Cheetahs are the same opponents, he will be playing for the DHL Stormers and not Western Province, and in Vodacom Super Rugby and not the Absa Currie Cup.
He should also be far more confident and ready to play an extended role for Saturday will not be the same as last year, when he had effectively been off the playing field for nearly two seasons. Burger was in outstanding form before he was injured halfway through the Stormers’ tour of New Zealand and Australia and had to return home early.
Nizaam Carr and Siya Kolisi have done well on the side of the Stormers scrum in his absence, and there is also a chance that Deon Fourie may still end up playing a role there as there as Scarra Ntubeni is expected back from his own injury lay-off. Fourie, outstanding in the win over the Lions at the weekend, will probably start at hooker but can move to flank later in the game if required.
Oli Kebble, ruled out of the Lions game, is also back in the selection mix, and so is Kobus van Wyk. In both instances it is just as well, for tighthead back-up Pat Cilliers has been ruled out of the Cheetahs game with a suspected meniscus tear. The Springbok will have his knee scanned on Tuesday, and if the injury doesn’t require an operation he will be back in six week.
Van Wyk’s return is timely as Sailosi Tagicakibau is nursing a bruised sternum and a call will only be made on him later in the week. Tagicakibau has played the last few games on the Stormers left wing. Talking of left wings, Cheslin Kolbe is back in the mix too, but coach Allister Coetzee has hinted that he will join Burger on the bench this week.
The Stormers team will be named on Tuesday afternoon after a training session at Northerns Avonwood in Elsies River.