Stormers cagey on Schalk

2012-04-23 15:32

Cape Town - The time frame for the return to Super Rugby combat of the Stormers’ first-choice captain Schalk Burger remains unclear.

It is likely to only raise anxiety levels among fans of the joint SA conference leaders, awaiting a medical verdict on the leg injury sustained against the Reds on Friday by another key loose forward, Duane Vermeulen - there have been whispers that the tough No 8 could miss the remainder of the ordinary season programme.

Springbok flank dynamo Burger has been missing from the side since tearing medial ligaments in a knee during the opening-round clash with the Hurricanes at Newlands on February 25 and if he can return to the fray against the Cheetahs on May 12 it may be ideally timed considering the Vermeulen situation.

The Stormers have one more overseas obligation, against the Force on Saturday, and a priceless bye before they must front up for that derby.

They may not be absolutely like-for-like loosies, but Burger’s physicality and work-rate is every bit in the same league as that of the former Free Stater - and there is even a school of thought that he could do justice to the No 8 slot anyway, if enterprisingly tried out there.

But a well-timed “swap” scenario, even if not in exactly the same position, does not seem quite so simple.

That is because Burger’s own comeback date keeps being pushed out quietly, after the initial estimation in late February that he would only be idle for four to six weeks.

We are now coming up for nine weeks of inactivity for the blond combatant, and former Stormers and Bok captain Bob Skinstad, presumably still with his nose close to the ground on the affairs of the franchise, said on SuperSport’s Boots & All programme on Thursday that Burger “isn’t even running yet”.

Probed by Sport24 on whether, in fact, the skipper was indeed back in a healthily “mobile” mode, WP Rugby spokesperson Gavin Lewis would only say: “Allister (Coetzee) wants our doctors to assess the players on their return next week before issuing any updates on athletes rehabbing back here in South Africa.”

So it is possible the Stormers may be at least “stretched” at loose forward for a while longer than many hope.

Don Armand, who is a complete Super Rugby rookie, has been flown over to Perth from the in-form WP Vodacom Cup side to provide cover if required at nib Stadium on Saturday, although the Stormers will probably still be able to start with a reassuring enough loose trio comprising Siya Kolisi, Rynhardt Elstadt and Nick Koster.

They also have the exciting Nizaam Carr in the party; some liken the 21-year-old to Rob Louw, the former WP and Springbok whippet, for speed and skill and if he gets greater spells of game-time off the bench or even in the starting XV he could give the Stormers an unexpected new dimension in attacking situations.

*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing


  • pieter.thefuture - 2012-04-23 15:47

    "joint SA conference leaders"? - bad reporting. Stormers are currently the SA conference leaders, they may be tied on log points, but are ahead with matches won. This makes a huge difference, may not seem like much now, but when it is a deciding factor at the end of the tournament on who get a home semi, or even who makes they play-offs no one will be saying joint log leader. o, and just to make your day even more confusing - the moment the first game kicks off on Friday, the bulls will be SA log leader, and to make this even more insane the overall leaders on virtue of their bye week 4 point bonus, until the Stormers and the chiefs play. Just another reason I do not like the conference system.

      Gareth - 2012-04-23 16:01

      you are a chop! the system is bad! get over it! The stormers doesnt need the excuses! the CAN hold their own ground! they are #1 on the logg and Joint on points. We dont need you to read the log.

      Stormers - 2012-04-23 16:01

      Exactly Pieter, too scared too upset the Bulls supporters by classing them as the also rans. But the competition is still long and with the current injury crisis, The Stormers reserve will be tested. I'm very excited to see JP at centre this weekend. Hope he gets his chance with Habana back at wing.

      pieter.thefuture - 2012-04-23 16:22

      @Gareth - jeez man, I did not mean to upset you. - where did I make excuses and for who did I make them? if anything I said in my post is incorrect please tell me, I am not above being proved wrong and if I have made a mistake in the facts then please correct me, but to go into an insult rant without backing up what you are saying is not on.

      Charl - 2012-04-23 16:22

      only thing this log system is doing is making sure there are atleast a team of each country in the playoffs. really stupid idea. And anotha stpid idea is to let each country play there own teams twice. and the 4points you get when you have a bye.... why dont thay just keep it plain and simple

      Gareth - 2012-04-23 16:55

      @ Pieter, My apoligies if i understood you wrong. It just sounded like you were mouning about the 'joint leaders'. They are in #1 place on the log and thats all that matters. however they are joint at points. Blew some steam of on you haha no harm tho

      pieter.thefuture - 2012-04-23 17:27

      @Gareth - No harm done, was just a little surprised by the strong reaction. Hope you have a great evening.

      Blouvitrioel - 2012-04-23 17:52

      Ek like dit as die supporters so onder mekaar baklei. Bul groete.

      Marko - 2012-04-24 14:07

      The only reason SANZAR changed the log system was that SA sides ended 1st and 2nd in the last years of Super 14. When the Aus and NZ sides had home finals and semi finals that was ok. If any countries teams end in those top positions it is because they played for it and deserved it. I allways said if you don't play a semi final or final in your home country you won't win the tournament. As the Sharks they played in a few finals overseas.

  • Grant - 2012-04-23 16:15

    Nizaam Carr! What a great prospect......quick, tough and skilful....a ' ball player' this kid!

      Stormkaap - 2012-04-23 17:46

      I feel he should get an extended run sooner than later

      Papa-storm - 2012-04-24 07:41

      cant agree more, they should let the younger guys play in the starting 15 more often, thus building up expierence and keeping them at the stormers

      Paul - 2012-04-24 14:00

      too true on both counts great young star that needs more game time and preferably with kolisi as that could be a great future combination at the sides of scrum. the still young to many years and we all know burger ain't gonna be around for many more seasons. groom the young players and make them part of tugd team befor other franchises buy them up as we know all the great talent starts in the cape

  • charkers - 2012-04-23 16:19

    I think they must let Schalk rest or else the Stormers will loose Siya Kolisi

  • Rinus - 2012-04-23 16:20

    Please be ready Schalk! Not for the Stormers' sake, but for the Boks! (a) I do not want Victor to come out of retirement (b) If he doesn't, I don't want Heyneke to make Pierre Spies Captain - we've created our own John Smith at the Bulls! We need Schalk 4 Bok Captain!

      Blouvitrioel - 2012-04-23 17:53

      Jy maak seker n grap. Dom Schalk? Bul groete.

      Rinus - 2012-04-23 19:06

      Ten minste stel hy 'n voorbeeld en speel hy harder as gewoonlik as hy Kaptein is. Dieselfde kan nie tans van Spies gesê word nie - hy lyk asof hy homself in watte toedraai ... seker te bang om seer te kry want dan gaan CJ wys hoe 'n agsteman eintlik moet speel! Ditto met die groete!

      Blouvitrioel - 2012-04-23 19:44

      Ek speel eerder met 14 man voordat ek daai dom ding kaptein maak. Bul groete.

      Jed - 2012-04-24 06:51

      Burger has more intelligence than the hole Bulls squad. Pretoria breed the dumbest people in the world.

      Ren%c3%a9 - 2012-04-24 08:13

      @vallemj, Pretoria breed the dumbest people in the world, and you use the word 'hole instead of whole' - man you know, it always comes back at you and bite you right in the 'hole' - don't ya think???

      Marko - 2012-04-24 13:57

      Vallemj, are you refering to the same Schalk who eye gouged the British Lions prop in front of the TV cameras for the whole world to see. Fortunatly the citing comissioner was biased. As for you my friend you should watch you cocky tongue some day its going to land you in a spot of bother.

      Tokolos - 2012-04-24 19:09

      Vallemj... You will never be allowed in Pretoria. If you wanna live here you have to be able to count at least up to 10 and you have to at least have all our front teeth in tact in your mouth! It is a little bit above you I suppose. Sorry... We cannot vouch for you and we cannot make any exceptions! Stay where you are!

  • Christo - 2012-04-23 19:45

    Geen kans dat Schalk in Mei gaan speel nie. As Duane ook af is, is als daarme heen. Seer maar waar!!

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