Stormers

Burger fired up for Sharks

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Stormers coach Kobus van der Merwe has struck a deal with Springbok counterpart Jake White to ensure that star loose forward Schalk Burger will be available for the Cape franchise’ final Super 14 outing of the season.

The Stormers face the Sharks at Newlands on Saturday in a game in which the Sharks have everything to lose – a home semi-final and even a place in the play-offs – while the home team have the freedom of knowing they can simply go out and express themselves.

With nothing but pride and few places higher on the standings to play for, the Bok coach, White, wanted the Stormers to rest.

However, with a chest injured having ruled out Justin Melck, Van der Merwe pleaded with the national coach to allow Burger to play.

“I struck a deal with Jake [White] that we will ‘manage’ Schalk [Burger] properly this week,” Van der Merwe told this website.

“It means that Schalk [Burger] will not train throughout the week and will only do the captain’s run on Friday,” the Stormers coach added.

“I explained to Jake that Justin Melck [loose forward] is out injured [torn sternum ligaments] and he agreed that Burger could play.”

However, the clearance for Burger to play, no doubt a huge boost to the team ahead of this all-South African derby, is offset by the news that ace midfielder Jean de Villiers will be sidelined for the next few weeks with a wrist injury.

With De Villiers out Corn’ Uys will come in at outside centre and Dylan Des Fountain will come in on the replacement bench.

Van der Merwe will also “rotate” his players at scrum-half and hooker.

Bolla Conradie will start in the number nine jersey this week, with JP Joubert dropping down to the bench.

At hooker Schalk Brits will start and Tiaan Liebenberg will be on the bench.

Van der Merwe made it clear that his team remained positive and are determined to end their season on a high, after winning their last two matches – against the Blues and Reds.

“We know it will be a huge onslaught from the Sharks, because they are playing for a place in the semi-final and home ground advantage in the play-offs.

“The intensity will be much higher this week and it is a local derby.

“I do expect a game of high intensity, but we are positive that we can end our season on a high.

“We have also lost only one home game this season and we want to keep that record intact. Also, we can move up a couple of places on the standings, which is also important to us.

“Dick Muir [Sharks coach] and myself are very good friends and we [the Stormers] want the Sharks to do well in the play-offs, but we won’t give the game to them on a platter.”

Stormers: 15 Conrad Jantjes, 14 Breyton Paulse, 13 Corn’ Uys, 12 De Wet Barry, 11 Brent Russell, 10 Peter Grant, 9 Bolla Conradie, 8 Joe van Niekerk, 7 Schalk Burger, 6 Luke Watson (c), 5 Ross Skeate, 4 Gerrie Britz, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 JD Moller.
Replacements: 16 Tiaan Liebenberg, 17 Eddie Andrews, 18 Schalk Ferreira, 19 Francois van der Merwe, 20 JP Joubert, 21 Naas Olivier, 22 Dylan des Fountain.

Date: Saturday, 5 May
Venue: Newlands, Cape Town
Kick-off: 17.05 (15.05 GMT)
Referee: Mark Lawrence (South Africa)
Touch judges: Linston Manuels (South Africa), Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Television match official: Johann Meuwesen (South Africa)
Assessor: Dennis Immelman

By Jan de Koning 365 Digital

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