Schalk’s set on six

Openside flank remains Schalk Burger’s preferred position.

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Injury and suspension limited Burger’s involvement with the Springboks in 2009 before the end-of-year tour, and in the interim, Heinrich Brüssow made that openside position his own. With Juan Smith injured, Burger started at No 7 for the Boks against the All Blacks in Hamilton and France in Toulouse, but in an interview with SA Rugby magazine he admits he’d far rather have No 6 on his back.

‘I haven’t really got going this year and Heinrich was the incumbent at the end of the Tri-Nations. It’s not easy to accept, but I think I’ve pretty much had it my own way for the past few years. There is some competition now and I’m not afraid of that challenge.

‘I was asked to play 7 while Juan is injured, and I took on that challenge. It’s very different to 6, you tend to be in more ball-carrying positions. At 6 you tend to be more involved and make more contributions, which is what I love most.’

Burger also talks about the eye-gouging episode against the Lions, his tackle on Fourie du Preez in the Currie Cup semi-final, and captaining the Stormers next year.

Also in the new issue:

Fourie du PreezFourie du Preez: Inside the mind of a rugby genius

– In an extract from his book, Captain in the Cauldron, John Smit reveals how Luke Watson disrupted the Springbok camp in 2008 and how the team recovered to thrash Australia and England

– We ask Regan Hoskins the hard questions about his Saru presidency, the Southern Kings and transformation

Robbie Deans on what went wrong with the Wallabies this year, the rift between him and certain senior players, and why Australia needs to have five Super Rugby sides

Bulls– The Bulls are the undisputed kings of the southern hemisphere after winning the Super 14 and Currie Cup this year. We find out how they bounced back from a disappointing 2008 and whether they can continue to dominate

– The Lions are the fallen giants of South African rugby, but CEO Manie Reyneke believes they will rise again under Dick Muir

Deon Kayser relished the opportunity to coach the Sharks backs in the Currie Cup

– A Springbok snub hasn’t dented the confidence of Cheetahs wing Lionel Mapoe

De Wet Barry– De Wet Barry on trying to get Eastern Province into the Currie Cup Premier Division, his stint with London Harlequins, the disappointment of missing out on the 2007 World Cup, and his future plans

– Springbok Sevens coach Paul Treu on their World Series title defence, how the game has evolved, and why he would select his best possible side for the Olympics

– Brive loose forward Antonie Claassen, son of former Springbok captain Wynand, will qualify to play for France at the end of 2010. He explains why he left South Africa two years ago and why he would accept an invitation from Marc Lièvremont