Captain Schalk Burger expressed his happiness to be back in the fray for the Vodacom Stormers’ match on Saturday against the Highlanders at Newlands after a week-long lay-off due to a hamstring injury.
The fiery Springbok flank replaces Pieter Louw, who goes back to the substitutes’ bench in place of Pieter Myburgh. Louw started against the Brumbies last Friday after he replaced Burger early in the game against the Waratahs the previous week.
Burger said he was very happy to back from injury as sitting on the sidelines and not playing was always frustrating. “It’s much easier playing; then you can make a bit of a difference. I’m not a good spectator so last week was a pretty tough 80 minutes!”
He added he it was disappointing for the team to have lost momentum against the Brumbies but they had worked on various aspects of their game this week and were keen to regain their momentum.
Coach Allister Coetzee explained the changes – Dewaldt Duvenhage back for Ricky Januarie, Anton van Zyl in place of De Kock Steenkamp and Wicus Blaauw back from injury to replace JC Kritzinger – were necessary.
“I don’t want to get to the situation where in Round 8 we might have picked up some injuries, and then we have no reserves who are match fit.
“JC and Pieter Louw have got some game time, but we need to make sure guys like Deon Fourie, Sireli Naqelevuki and Lionel Cronje also get a run before we go on tour.
‘I’ve decided to give De Kock a break and give Anton an opportunity. Adriaan Fondse will be back from injury in a few weeks, so I want Anton to have had a chance before he returns. This will give me an idea of which one of those four to leave out of the squad.”
Coetzee said he was satisfied that Van Zyl, primarily a five lock, would fit in without a problem at four. “Anton can cover both. We are fortunate that Anton can also play at four. Worms must get out there and get a start.”
There is a bit of concern in the camp about wing Gio Aplon, who didn’t train on Tuesday and Wednesday due to a bout of the ‘flu. Coetzee, however, is confident the little flyer will be ready and hasn’t even bothered to put another player on standby.