Stormers head coach Allister Coetzee says Schalk Burger will be fit for the 2013 Super Rugby season.
The veteran flank missed the entire 2012 season after injuring his knee during the Stormers’ Super Rugby opener against the Hurricanes.
The 29-year-old is currently busy with his rehab, but will rejoin the team at training on 7 January and is expected to play in the first pre-season match on 2 February.
Meanwhile, Coetzee told Heart 104.9FM’s Sportswrap that Elton Jantjies won’t be promised any game time while Jaco Taute will play fullback during Super Rugby next year.
The Springbok flyhalf is likely to start for the Stormers at the start of Super Rugby, because of 2012 incumbent Peter Grant’s commitments with Japanese club the Kobe Steelers until late February and Currie Cup-winning flyhalf Demetri Catrakilis’s departure to the Southern Kings.
This will please the Lions, who want their players to get a good amount of game time during their respective loans, especially ahead of the Super Rugby promotion-relegation play-offs in July and August.
However, Coetzee stressed that no set amount of playing time has been agreed. It’s also believed that Grant will return to the Stormers starting line-up once he’s settled in Cape Town.
‘No, [Jantjies' game time] has nothing to do with anyone,’ said Coetzee. ‘We’ve experienced in Super Rugby that you need to have enough depth in your team’s spine, that includes your hooker, No 8, your 9 and 10 and your 15. Also tighthead prop. We’ll have that at flyhalf with Peter and Elton there, and with youngsters like Kurt Coleman and Gary van Aswegen.’
When speaking about Taute, Coetzee confirmed that the utility back will compete for the No 15 jersey with Joe Pietersen.
Taute has played mostly at centre in 2012. He featured prominently in the midfield for the Lions, while he’s played three Tests at outside centre for the Springboks.
‘Jaco’s best position – and he’ll tell you that – is 15,’ said Coetzee. ‘From his provincial U21 and SA U20 days, he’s been a talented fullback. He joins the line well and has great running skills. He’s a big strong lad in the last line of defence. And he’s got a good boot on him – he kicks for poles and puts in long-range kicks. He’ll give the team a bit of punch from the back.’
Good news for the Stormers is that Taute will consider signing a permanent deal with the Stormers if all goes well during his loan. The player confirmed his interest of extending his stay with this site in October.