Bok wrecking ball

Schalk Burger is a rugby phenomenon, but what makes him the player he is?

In the latest issue of SA Rugby magazine, Jake White, Richie McCaw, Rudolf Straeuli, Derick Coetzee and Henning Gericke all offer unique insights into arguably the greatest Springbok of all-time by explaining exactly what sets him apart from the rest.

White, during a detailed discussion, reveals that Burger “averages 21 tackles per game – seven more than the average for an elite international flank. He’s got great ball skills, an unbelievable feel for the game in the sense that his running lines are so good that he gets into excellent positions long before the opposition even realise he’s there.”

McCaw says, “He just flies in [to the rucks]. Every time you play against him, he’s everywhere. His work rate is amazing.”

In a revealing Q&A, we also ask Schalk if opensiders are born or made, what he defines as failure, if he’s received offers from overseas clubs and if he misses having Jake around.

Also in the new issue of SAR:

– The Springbok scrum no longer strikes fear into their opponents. Former Springbok front rankers John Allan and Guy Kebble explain why

BJ Botha was a shock omission from the Boks’ Tri-Nations squad, but the tighthead prop, who recently signed for ulster, believes he can force his way back

– Player depth remains a top priority but South Africa can no longer afford to neglect the development of local coaches. SA Rugby magazine investigates Saru’s plan to implement a new coaching programme in 2009

– The increased involvement of the TMO has been the most hotly debated point of this year’s Absa Currie Cup. SA Rugby magazine assesses the positives and negatives of the system

Craven Week is supposed to be a festival of South African schoolboy rugby where winning isn’t a matter of life or death. but for a group of determined talent scouts, it’s merely an opportunity to snap up the next Frans Steyn or John Smit. SA Rugby magazine finds out how a respected talent scout goes about his job, and how others, with less integrity, will do almost anything to get that important signature

– At just 19, Robert Ebersohn has already lent the Free State Cheetahs backline some much needed attacking flair this season

– Last year, a disillusioned Gcobani Bobo was released by the Sharks to play for the Springbok Sevens team. Now he’s an automatic selection for the Stormers, captaining Western Province, back in the Bok set-up and revelling in his amazing change of fortune

– Former Springbok flyhalf Gerald Bosch has played a major role in the development of Wallabies utility back Berrick Barnes

– Outside centre has been an All Blacks weakness since Tana Umaga retired at the end of 2005. But the problem of who to play there has finally been solved by the emergence of Conrad Smith

Andre Pretorius’s career has been plagued by leg injuries, especially during the last four years. The latest setback came when he played for the Boks against the Barbarians last year, limping off the Twickenham turf after 33 minutes with a crocked foot. The Lions flyhalf has not played in a match since, yet despite calls for him to retire, he believes he will have a big 2009 season

– SA Rugby magazine is on sale from Wednesday, 20 August. To subscribe, e-mail [email protected] or phone (021) 416-0141.