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Burger could tour NZ & Australia with Stormers

Schalk Burger was injured in the opening round in 2012

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Article Published: Tuesday 26 March 2013|

Stormers coach Allister Coetzee has revealed that captain Schalk Burger could join the rest of the squad on their tour of New Zealand and Australia.

The Stormers play the Crusaders this weekend and then they have matches against Cheetahs in Bloemfontein and the Sharks in Cape Town before their bye in Round 10.

The Stormers then go on tour to New Zealand where they will play the Hurricanes and the Blues before flying out to Australia for matches against the Waratahs and the Rebels.

The Stormers then return home to face former Super Rugby champions the Reds on Saturday the 25th of May.

Coetzee says that flanker Schalk Burger will be reassessed in two/three weeks' time as he makes his way back to fitness having suffered a calf muscle tear in the opening round of the 2012 season.

"If all goes well he could still make the tour, but I don't want to put a date on it."

The Stormers coach says that he will not rush Burger back and he will not be taking any chances with his captain's fitness, "If he can't run flat out on the treadmill, I don't want him on the field (yet) - I want him back at 100% and that's what we're ensuring."

"It's frustrating, but that's the nature of the beast."

Coetzee also revealed that Flyhalf Peter Grant's ankle will keep him out for a bit longer than initially expected.

"Syndesmosis is quite a tricky injury," said Coetzee.

"He picked up a similar injury (to his other ankle) two years ago and it kept him out of action for six to eight weeks then. We have Dewaldt Duvenage, who can provide cover, and, of course Louis Schreuder - they know the systems and are very capable (at flyhalf). "

"There is also Kurt Coleman and Gary van Aswegen, in the Vodacom Cup team, and we will take a look at them if need be - once they've both had more games under the belt."

There was also good news for Winger Gio Aplon who passed his CogSport test (for concussion) on Monday and he could be in line to face the Crusaders this weekend.

"If he comes through without any symptoms he will be available for selection, but we were very happy with his CogSport testing and how he came through training today," said Coetzee.

"The initial test was very positive and his training will increase gradually this week. Concussion is not something you mess around with and the CogSport tests are not something that can be manipulated, so if what comes out of that is positive then it can be taken as a good sign. But we just want to monitor him for a bit before making a decision on his availability."

Hooker Tiaan Liebenberg, Andries Bekker (lock), Jean de Villiers (centre) and Joe Pietersen (fullback) all sat out training on Monday with minor injuries.

"It was a normal Monday for us in terms of managing those players," Coetzee explained.

"The big thing is to ensure these players are 100% to train and then to play against the Crusaders (on Saturday). They will all be up for selection."

Hooker Scarra Ntubeni (shoulder) returned to training on Monday, but is not taking part in all team training yet. He won't be considered for selection as yet.

Meanwhile lock Eben Etzebeth (ankle) is set to return to training next Monday (April 1), but will be under the eye of the physios and will take part in controlled training for the first two weeks of his return.

"If Eben runs comfortably (after those two weeks), then the next step is game time. I'm very positive that he will make the tour - it's touch and go for the Sharks game before that,." Coetzee added.

Prop Deon Carstens has been battling with a back injury since his neck operation in the off-season. It is hoped that he will be in line to make his return to rugby for the WP side in the Vodacom Cup (against the Border Bulldogs) next weekend. If he comes through that match, he will be available for the Stormers.

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