Springbok flank Schalk Burger was declared fit to take on the Sharks at Newlands on Friday and said he was looking forward to leading the Vodacom Stormers the first time this season in the final match of the Neo Africa Tri-series tournament.
The fiery Burger missed the Stormers first warm-up game against the Force at Newlands last Saturday due to an upper leg injury he sustained in training. On Wednesday he first had to undergo a fitness test at the Western Province High Performance Centre in Bellville before being cleared to play.
“I came through the test okay and I am looking forward to captaining the team for the first time this season,” said Burger afterwards.
“It was a bit frustrating sitting out last week. I have been on the sidelines a lot in the past year, with suspensions and injuries, and didn’t want to have another week’s break. As I have not been playing that much, I suppose you could say that I am fresher now than I have been before some new seasons.”
Burger takes over from Pieter Myburgh in the only change to the side that annihilated the Western Force 54-12 in the opening Neo Africa match last Saturday.
Coach Allister Coetzee said: “Our aim in that Force match was to tick the boxes in the various departments. We want to get some confidence and continuity in our structures. It’s important to settle into our combinations before the Super 14 kicks off.”
Coetzee said Burger will play the majority of the remaining two warm-up matches to ensure he is match fit ahead of the opening Super 14 match against the Lions.
Ricky Januarie will report to the Stormers High Performance Centre on Thursday and be considered for the Boland game next week.
Coetzee said the Sharks’ disjointed performance against the Force has not led to any complacency in the Stormers’ camp. His side still wants to sharpen their game in the build up to the Super 14, and another win against Super 14 opposition will be valuable.
“We’re not going to be deceived by that performance,’ he said. ‘We know what our goals are, and we also know how things can change in a South African derby. It’s going to be hard and physical, a completely different ball game.”