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Burger called up by Springboks

Experienced and versatile loose forward Schalk Burger has been called up to the Springbok squad for the final two Tests in the Investec Rugby Championship for the injured Francois Louw.

Burger, capped 71 times for the Springboks, will play for his Japanese club, Suntory, on Friday and join the squad in Cape Town as soon as possible thereafter.

It will be Burger’s second involvement with the Springboks this year after he made a highly successful return to the national side in June following two years out of the game with injury and serious illness.

Burger featured in all four of the Springboks’ matches in June, starting in the final Test against Scotland, but because of his club commitments in Japan he was not available for the first four rounds of the Investec Rugby Championship.

Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer confirmed Siya Kolisi was also an option to replace the injured Louw, but the DHL Western Province loose forward was injured over the weekend ruling him out for approximately a month.

“I feel for Siya as he’s been hitting great form again, but it’s also good to be able to bring Schalk back into the squad,” said Meyer.

“With Willem Alberts still out injured, Schalk’s versatility helps as he can cover any position in the loose trio. He is also very experienced, brings leadership qualities and has been with us so he will slot back in easily.

“Schalk played a superb role in June mentoring the younger players in the squad, and he’ll be able to carry on with that especially with players such as Warren Whiteley and Oupa Mohoje, who has shown massive improvement after only playing in a handful of Vodacom Super Rugby matches and making his Test debut earlier this season.”

Meyer also said that Mohoje has come through exceptionally well in his breakthrough-season and can fill the void left by Louw and Alberts: “Oupa is a strong ball carrier, very fast and hard-working on defence, but he is also a superb option at the back of the line-out.”