Jake White admits the Springboks will miss Schalk Burger against the French on Saturday.
“We’d be living in a dream world if we thought we’d be the same side without him,” said the Bok coach. “He is worth three or four players on the field. How do you replace a special player like that? However, we have a number of talented loose forwards in the side who I’m confident will do the job against France on Saturday.”
White refused to identify any of the current loose trio (Juan Smith, Joe van Niekerk and Pedrie Wannenburg) as out and out fetchers.
“We don’t have a so-called fetcher in the side,” he said. “Ideally you want 15 fetchers on the field. The fact is that any player can be coached to become a fetcher.”
John Smit also lamented the loss of Burger.
“I saw the knock he took in PE and I think most of us would still be lying down,” said the Bok captain. “He plays like a wild animal and throws himself at the opposition. He’s got plenty of rugby left in him and in my eyes he will always be indestructable.
“Maybe six months off from the game will prove to be a blessing in disguise. He’s 23 years old and his body has taken a lot of physical contact over the last two years. Hopefully, he can recover and come back better than ever.”
By Simon Borchardt, in Cape Town