Vodacom WP captain Schalk Burger has had his share of glory through the years. With a Tri-Nations, Lions Series, World Cup and IRB Player of the year titles under his belt, Burger has achieved more than most in the game.
Despite all his previous success, one achievement still alludes him; a domestic title with Vodacom WP. With the team last making the final way back in 2001, this weekend’s clash will be Schalla’s first chance in a Currie Cup final. In an interview with the Club Newlands Ezine,
the flanker admits that it has been a long time coming for the team, the players and the fans.
He said: “It has been a long wait for everyone at WP Rugby and the whole team is really excited to get the chance to play in the final. Having an extra week’s break has really helped our preparations and we are now looking forward to running out onto the field on Saturday.”
Handling the pressure
Burger captained the side to the Super 14 final earlier this year, where they were narrowly beaten by the Bulls. The 26-year-old believes that the experience of the Soweto final will help the team, but he knows it won’t be a defining factor in the game at ABSA Stadium.
“I think the biggest thing we can take out of the final at Orlando Stadium is how to handle the pressure of the occasion, something a lot of the players had not experience before. This being said, Saturday’s game is a different game and a different opponent so we know that the most important thing for us is to concentrate on our own structures and not on past matches.”
Standing in the way of Province and glory is an in-form Sharks side. Having ended the season top of the log, the Sharks put in a clinical display to defeat defending champions the Blue Bulls in an epic semi clash. Schalla is under no illusions as to the huge challenge facing his team. He said: “The Sharks like to carry the ball and they make you make lots of tackles. They have a strong tight five, a good loose trio and we are going to be strong defensively if we want to compete. There is no doubt that Saturday will be a huge battle!”
The stakes couldn’t be higher, but with approximately 3000 Province fans heading to Durban and thousands more cheering them on from back home, Schalk and the team will have all the support they need as they look to bring the Cup back to the Cape.
Check out a video message from Schalla ahead of Saturday's big match: