Vodacom Stormers coach Allister Coetzee on Wednesday said he wasn’t too concerned that the injury that was preventing Schalk Burger from playing in the team’s season-opener on Saturday is serious.
Burger was ruled out of the opening match in the Neo Africa Tri-Series against the Western Force at Newlands because of a haematoma. The flanker has been appointed as the Stormers captain for the season.
His Springbok team-mate Andries Bekker will now be leading the Stormers in their first warm-up game in preparation of the Super 14 series.
“Schalk is very much disappointed for not leading the side,” said Coetzee. “He is our captain for the season. I can tell you he is very disappointed for not playing this weekend.
“We however got a policy we are trying to stick by and try to see that we follow that. A player must train for a full week before he plays on the weekend… I mean we are doing it with our captain.”
Coetzee said the Stormers’ management team has decided to rather play it safe. “We don’t want to be pennywise and pound foolish – we don’t want to risk Schalla and have him sitting out when the tournament kicks off.
“We still have enough games to play for Schalla to get ample game time. We still have Boland and the Sharks. It is a little bit of a haematoma, but when fatigue sets in it could tear.
“That is why we want to make sure Schalla is not playing this weekend and we appointed Andries Bekker to lead the team. He has many leaders around him and I am sure it will go well with Dries and his new leadership this weekend.”
The coach emphasized resting Burger was only a precautionary measure and added he was certain the fiery flank will be ready for next Saturday’s game against the Sharks at Newlands.
“Schalla sustained the injury last week before the cricket match (the past Sunday at Newlands against the Cobras). He got a knock to the quad and with his high pain threshold it is never easy to know when something is just a niggle or really serious.
“He felt nothing over the weekend. On Tuesday he came back to training and he started accelerating when he ran a few moves with the backs. All of a sudden het felt the pain is becoming acute and on the recommendation of the doctor he is not playing. He couldn’t train the last couple of days.”
Coetzee said he was not worried that Burger’s withdrawal would cause too much disruption to the Stormers preparation. “In this competition you got to have the depth. If you rely on X, Y and Z only you won’t make it in this competition.
“A case in point was when we lost Jean de Villiers last week in the third game of the competition against the Sharks. Things fell a bit flat after that. The Boks came back on the 4th of January and Schalla’s been involved in every training session.
“It happened just last week, so it won’t have that big an impact at this point in time. I think one has to trust the backup and its good for Pieter Myburgh to get a run at this point in time.”