We will miss Schalk

PUBLISHED: February 25, 2008

Vodacom Stormers captain Jean de Villiers said the possible loss of Schalk Burger for Friday’s Super 14 match against the Crusaders at Newlands is a big blow to the side.

Burger received a yellow card on Saturday in the match against the Sharks in Durban and appeared before a disciplinary hearing in Cape Town on Monday. He was found guilty on a charge of an act contrary to good sportsmanship.

Burger will be sentenced on Tuesday, but De Viliers has resigned himself to the idea that his world-beater flank would not be playing this Friday.

“Yes, it is a big loss for us. Any player that we lose is a big loss and that is definitely the case with Schalk. We haven’t made a decision yet about who will replace him, but we have guys in the squad that can take over from him and fulfil that role.

“It is an opportunity for somebody else to play Super 14 rugby and hopefully that player will grab the opportunity with both hands.”

De Viliers says the Vodacom Stormers would never be satisfied with just being competitive.

The captain said the squad was not happy with the 12-10 defeat in their second Vodacom Super 14 match to the Sharks in Durban on Saturday and that they are determined to start winning.

The Stormers also suffered a narrow defeat to the Bulls in the first round game at Newlands. But even tough his team performed admirably against both last year’s finalists De Villiers wants more.

“We were not happy with the defeat. There are positives we can take from that performance. Our defence, for instance, was really good. We have shown over the past two weekends now that our defensive system is rock solid.

“We had only one try scored against us and it was debatable whether it was a legitimate try or not. This weekend (against the Crusaders) there will be more questions asked of the defence and it will be a huge challenge.

“Another positive is the fact that a few players have adapted nicely to Super 14 rugby. A guy like Francois Louw is in his first season of Super 14 and he is coping well. Sereli (Naqelevuki) is an old stalwart, but it is also his first Super 14 and he looks impressive.”

The Springbok centre said the team is starting to gel as a combination. “One should remember that almost all the combinations haven’t played together before the Bulls game and the combinations are coming together nicely now.”

De Villiers assured Stormers supporters that they are not going to neglect the attacking play. The Stormers scored a try in each of their outings thus far.

“The defence has been a positive, but now we need to give attention to our attacking play. It has been a strong point over the years. Our backline needs to sharpen up now and show some improvement,” he said.