Stormers

Schalk Burger geared for pre-season start

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Springbok flank Schalk Burger, the 2004 International Rugby Board Player of the Year, is geared for an earlier than expected return to the playing field, following neck surgery earlier this year.


According to a report on the Stormers’ website, quoting fitness and conditioning trainer Greg Hechter, Burger should be ready to play in their two pre-season friendly matches in January.


The fiery flank missed almost all of the Springboks’ tests after suffering a career-threatening neck injury, which required surgery.


According to Hechter Burger has been working hard on his fitness and will join his team-mates at training soon.


“We are very confident that he will be ready for the start of the Super 14. He will be seeing a specialist in another week or two and we will make sure he is happy. At this stage it seems he will be cleared to play in January, which will give us a month and two friendly games to get him confident,” explained Hechter.


The fitness expert added that when Burger joins the squad he would be fine to do everything except contact.


“He will only start taking contact in January.”


The Stormers tackle the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on 13 January, in the first of their pre-season outings. They then take on Boland in Wellington on 20 January, before they start their Super 14 campaign with a clash against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on 3 February.


Hechter also had good news about the other injured Western Province and Stormers stars.


“The way things look at this stage all the injured guys we’ve lost in the Currie Cup, such as Tonderai Chavhanga, Schalk Brits and Peter Grant, should be fit for the start of the Super 14 barring injuries from now on.


“Their rehabilitation is going really well. The same goes for Conrad Jantjes, who came from the Lions after a groin operation. His rehab program is going well and he is also joining the squad on Monday.”


Hechter said Brits is partaking in 75 to 80 percent of the training sessions at the moment and is in the last bit of rehab for his injured knee.


“He is doing well and by next week he will be fully integrated in all aspects of training.”


The contracted Springboks will also be joining the rest of the squad on Monday, except for centre Jean de Villiers, who is still with the Boks in England.


“He will get an extra two weeks off, before joining us for the training camp in George from 15 to 20 December. We will see how guys like Eddie, De Wet, Selborne and Gerrie are, but by all accounts they have also been working hard,” said Hechter

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