It was Currie Cup Semi final day yesterday in South Africa, as the Sharks hosted the Cheetahs in Durban, and the Bulls travelled to Cape Town to challenge Western Province. The Bulls won 21-19, thanks to a late Morne Steyn penalty.
The Newlands match was set to be a classic, as both sides were scattered with Springbok talent, as well as talented youngsters who served their sides well while the international players were on Test duty.
For Western Province, flanker Schalk Burger was named on the bench after he came away from the Tri Nations with a rib injury that his kept him sidelined since then.
Many questioned coach Alistair Coetzees tactics of playing Burger off the bench in what would be such a fierce physical encounter, against the likes of Pierre Spies, Danie Rossouw, and Bakkies Botha.
Schalk was cleared this week, but the guys have been playing well in that loose trio, Coetzee said.
We have to keep those systems going. Its great to have a Bok like Schalk on the bench, and Im sure hell have a big impact when he comes on in the second half.
Coetzee was right, as Burger came on and made this monstrous hit on Bok teammate, scrumhalf Fourie Du Preez midway through the second half.
The hit brought the 48 000 strong Newlands crowd to its feet, a poignant moment in the career of the man who received so much castigation for his actions earlier in the season.
The reaction of the crowd and his teammates pretty much said it all, as Burger signalled his return to the game once again with moment that typified the way he has, and always will play the game at 110%.
It was good to see teammate Du Preez acknowledge the hit with a grin, and Burger himself with a little wink, no doubt in his Test teammates direction.
We’ll get a better quality version of this up soon, as well as highlights from both closely contested matches.