Schalk Burger, the 2011 SA Player of the Year, should be the cornerstone of the Springbok side in 2012 and beyond.
Burger, who first played for the Boks in a 2003 World Cup match against Georgia, enjoyed an outstanding tournament in New Zealand, exhibiting the same abrasive energy that marked him as a 20-year-old debutant. He also made use of the experience he’s accumulated over 60-plus Tests, as well as some recently acquired skills, to leave a lasting impression.
The next Bok coach will face the challenge of building a new team and a new leadership group. Burger is certain to be one of the pillars, if not a strong candidate for the captaincy itself. Some tough decisions will need to be made by the coach, and the ageing veterans may need to make way for the promising youngsters, but a clever man-manager will realise that Burger is the kind of player he can build his new team around.
Also in the new issue of SA Rugby magazine, on sale this week:
– We analyse the Springboks’ World Cup campaign and rate all the players
– Why the Springboks must adapt their game plan in order to achieve consistent success
– Richie McCaw has a phenomenal playing record, but McCaw the player is even more impressive
– All Blacks coach Graham Henry has found peace at last
– The minnows made progress at the recent World Cup despite an unfair playing field
– Jon Cardinelli chronicles some of the World Cup adventures enjoyed by the SA Rugby magazine team during a seven-week sojourn to New Zealand’s rugby-mad North Island
– The SA U18 Sevens’ success at the Commonwealth Youth Games bodes well for the 2016 Olympic Games