Coetzee says Schalk will be ready

PUBLISHED: February 7, 2010

Vodacom Stormers coach Allister Coetzee said captain Schalk Burger should be ready to lead his side in Saturday’s Vodacom Super 14 opener against the Lions in Johannesburg.

Burger left the field early in the first half of Saturday’s warm-up game against a Boland Invitational XV at the new Cape Town Stadium with a shoulder injury. The coach admitted he was nervous when he saw the tough as nails forward left the field, but declared afterwards the Springbok will be fit.

“We were all nervous about it. Fortunately Schalla is fine. It is just a muscle injury to his shoulder. I know I said earlier in the week about the game time that Schalla needs to get, but he is one of the players with a very good engine.

“Schalla can go. Now it is just a matter of making sure my captain is ready for next week for the Lions. He will definitely be ready.”

The Stormers were without several first-choice players and started off slowly, but shook off the rust in the second half to eventually comfortably win 47-13. The coach afterwards declared himself happy with the performances of a number of players.

“I’m happy first of all that Willem de Waal came trough the game and that he is over his injury now. He needs a bit of game time now. Lionel Cronje came on and played really well. I’m pleased about that.

“Frikkie Welsh played well. Clinton Whitehead did a good job when he came on and I think Sereli (Naqelevuki) was outstanding.”

The coach said De Waal now needs to go out and play more. “He needs to go out and play. He needs to spend time on the field. It doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m going to pick him next week against the Lions.

“This is all part of Willem’s comeback and rehab. He is medically 100 percent fit, all he needs is to spend some time on the field and it started today.”

Centre Paul Bosch dislocated his elbow during the game and was sent for scans at hospital. “Hopefully everything around the joint is still intact, otherwise it could be a bit of a long term injury,” commented Coetzee.

“The doctors got the elbow back in place on the field. Hopefully he will not be out for too long. He is another player that impressed today.”

The former Springbok assistant coach was impressed with the new stadium and its facilities. “It was fantastic. Every player enjoys playing in front of 40 000 spectators. It’s been lovely. Also you are feeling like you are playing somewhere overseas.

“We were excited to come out here. It’s certainly been a wonderful day in a fantastic stadium. I don’t think playing here is a bad thing, but we also know we got to go back to Newlands.

“That is where home is at this point in time, but this is really a fantastic facility.”