South Africa Springboks Rugby News

Burger boost as Boks take a stab at Lions



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According to Springbok conditioning coach Neels Liebel, star Springbok flanker Schalk Burger has a “good chance” of being fit to face the British and Irish Lions in the first Test at the Absa Stadium this Saturday.

Burger has been battling with a calf injury for some time and although he was considered highly doubtful over the weekend, Liebel told a press contingent on Monday afternoon that Burger was making good progress and a final decision on his fitness would be made later this week.

Just in case they have to contend with a worst case scenario, Cheetahs flanker Heinrich Brussow has been called into the squad to add loose-forward depth.

Bok coach Peter de Villiers said he was confident whoever turned out in the loose-trio would do a good job and that a specialist fetcher was not necessarily a must-have.

“My belief is that the way the game is going nowadays, you need to be multi-skilled and if you set up the rucks correctly, the guys who are there first will steal the ball and if you approach the collisions correctly, you can actually dominate it, then you don’t need a guy who plays to the ball all the time.”

The Lions have made no secret of the fact they have worked on the breakdowns ever since Brussow recently worked his magic there for the Cheetahs, and it will once again be a crucial area of the game this Saturday and one that will be closely monitored by referee Bryce Lawrence.

De Villiers added that he felt that the British and Irish Lions have been playing illegally and that he hoped the referee on the day would police the Lions.

“We’ve picked up with the Lions that there’s a lot of sealing off, obstruction, all those kind of illegalities around the breakdown but then again we don’t want to labour a point like that,” De Villiers said.

“We have all the faith in Bryce to officiate that area of the game well because he comes from New Zealand where that area is a huge thing.”

“We must not fall into the trap whereby if they are illegal we play illegal.

“We must prepare the right way and do the right stuff.”

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