Burger looks to Kiwi Test with relish

For Schalk Burger, man of the match in last Saturday’s Tri-Nations opener, this coming Saturday will be a pivotal moment since his return from injury this year.

Looking incredibly fresh on Monday considering the battering he gave himself against the Wallabies – “Bit of a rugby hangover, but not too bad” is how he described his physical health – Burger could not conceal the excitement he was feeling for the challenge ahead.

“Have a look at them, they are a pretty awesome side, an all round rugby side, so preparation is going to be key this week,” he said.

“It’s always a good test for us, playing against them, but it is the sort of game all the guys look forward to.

“You have to imagine yourself against them – they have been the number one for the past four years, and it is going to be interesting.”

The bleach-blond flank will also be able to measure himself against a unique yardstick, as he will line up opposite Richie McCaw: the world’s best in nearly everyone’s eyes.

“He’s an awesome player,” said Burger with a grin that stretched from ear to ear.

“I have played against him quite a few times, and it is always a great challenge, one of those battles that could go either way.

“And I am just looking forward to playing against him. What a tough competitor. It’s a great privilege to play against all of them, I just hope we don’t disappoint.

“It is different against the All Blacks. The big thing about the All Blacks is they are tough up front, and brilliant out wide.

“They have the all-round game and it tests you as a player and as a rugby team so much. It is a complete test of your skill.

“It’s their first Tri-Nations game, the adrenaline will be pumping, and they want to get off to a good start. But no matter what happens, it will still be an awesome experience.”

He says no matter what happens, but this is a clash most have tipped to be October’s Rugby World Cup final. With both teams currently on something of a roll, a Bok victory would be a massive boost as the year heads towards its rugby zenith.

“The result is important,” confessed Burger when asked if he would be happy with just a good display.

“We have a little momentum now, we have won four games in a row, and if we win this won, we have even more momentum to carry on with. It will be good for the confidence.

“We are pretty confident at the moment, even though last Saturday wasn’t easy. Luckily we got through that one, I thought the Australians played really well.

“We aren’t over-confident though!” he quickly reminded.

“The Super 14 definitely helped the confidence. But they are playing as the All Blacks now, and we are the Boks, so it is a long time ago. We are just feeding off what we did last weekend.”

By Danny Stephens 365 Digital

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