We’re definitely seeing less of him since he had a haircut, but as far as the Blues and his own coaching staff at the Stormers are concerned, he’s still the Incredible Schalk Burger.
Stephen Nell writes in Die Burger that the Stormers and Blues clash in a Super 14 match at Newlands on Saturday.
When Blues hooker and captain Keven Mealamu was asked about danger men in the Stormers’ line-up, he had no hesitation in pointing to Burger.
“When you play a side with Schalk Burger in its ranks, you have to include him in your game plan,” said Mealamu.
“Schalk is a menace and always gets stuck in. The Stormers have good pace on the wings and then you also have Jean de Villiers there. They are a well-balanced team.”
Stormers’ forwards coach Gary Gold dismissed the notion that Burger’s form has dipped this season.
“All I’ll say to that is class is permanent. Schalk has a massive presence. His teammates feel comfortable with him around,” said Gold.
“He’s playing good rugby and doing a lot of hard work. People may not notice it. Schalk has never been a flashy player. Maybe because he’s had a haircut people don’t see his hair flying around everywhere.
“No team enjoys playing against Schalk. The other teams will spend a few hours prior to matches discussing how to neutralise him. We know his value as a player.”
Mealamu said it was “gut-wrenching” to concede 59 points against the Bulls. However, the Blues played with an inexperienced side. This week the All Black duo of loose forward Jerome Kaino and wing Joe Rokocoko are back.
Loose forward Justin Collins will play his 100th game for the Blues.
Mealamu, however, believes the fact that they can breathe easier away from the altitude of the Highveld will be their biggest ally.
“We prepared well last week, but could not handle the altitude at Loftus. When you have never played there before you cannot explain to anyone what it will be like, other than to say that your lungs will burn,” he said.
“But we are a good side and should never lose by that kind of margin.”Tweet