Collins hails Burger development

South Africa flanker Schalk Burger is "no longer just a fetcher" and has taken great strides in recent years, according to his opposite number for New Zealand, Jerry Collins. [more]

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South Africa flanker Schalk Burger is "no longer just a fetcher" and has taken great strides in recent years, according to his opposite number for New Zealand, Jerry Collins.

Collins will face up to Burger when the Hurricanes meet the Stormers at Newlands on Saturday to continue their battles since both hit the international scene.

"It’s been good that Schalk got over the injury he had a couple of years ago," Collins told the Cape Times, referring to the career-threatening neck injury Burger suffered in a Test against Scotland in June 2006.

"He and Luke Watson seem to be going really well together. Under the guidance of Rassie (Erasmus, Stormers coach), Schalk has started stepping and made better use of the ball.

"He has been more of a ball player than what he was in the past."

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Collins noted that Burger has added some finesse to his aggressive approach, something that should prolong his career without detracting from his strengths.

"The coach is pretty smart and to make your career last longer, you add the step to make sure that you do play for longer," Collins continued.

"Schalk has been doing that pretty well this year and is no longer just a fetcher. He has more skills now.

"It also depends on what kind of regime you play under. The Stormers play a similar style to us. They throw the ball around and their forwards all handle the ball pretty well."

Collins said he is looking forward to playing at Newlands, where a big part of the local population support the New Zealand sides.

"Newlands is one of the nicer places to come and play at. The people are much more friendlier than up in Pretoria," he said.

"The support for the All Blacks and the New Zealand teams is pretty big down here. It’s kind of like a home away from home.

"It also has a historical perspective, with the apartheid era the people here decided to back the All Blacks. So there is always great support for us."

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