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Schalk Burger may miss first international against Lions

David Hands, Rugby Correspondent, Cape Town Times Online 11.06.2009 21:48
Schalk Burger may miss first international against Lions - Schalk Burger

Hard on the heels of the Lions completing the fourth win of their tour comes the possibility that South Africa may not be able to field Schalk Burger in the first international in Durban a week tomorrow.

The Stormers flanker, on the verge of making his 50th appearance for the Springboks, is struggling with a torn calf muscle suffered five weeks ago and was unable to train yesterday.

Since breaking into the national squad in 2003, Burger has been an influential presence and although South Africa have experienced cover, they know that he, Pierre Spies and Juan Smith make a superb complementary back row. They have yet to send for a replacement - Heinrich Brussow, the Cheetahs flanker who caused the Lions grief last weekend, springs to mind - because the squad includes Danie Rossouw and Ryan Kankowski, but they must make a decision on Burger's fitness soon.

This is only one of the decisions that Peter de Villiers, the coach, must make. François Steyn, who has just agreed a three-year contract to play for Racing Métro 92 in Paris next season, turned out at full back in training but he is one of several candidates for that role. South Africa remain in camp for the next week but short of match exercise, while the Lions continue to test their combinations against Western Province here tomorrow and the Southern Kings in Port Elizabeth on Tuesday.


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