Wednesday, September 12, 2007
South Africa have suffered a huge blow after losing star flanker Schalk Burger for the next four matches.
Burger last night received a four-match ban after being cited for a dangerous tackle on Samoan scrum-half Junior Polu during the Springboks' 59-7 Pool A victory in Paris on Sunday.
It means Burger, who has 48 hours to appeal the decision, will miss his country's remaining pool games against England, Tonga and the United States.
He is also set to sit out a potential quarter-final against either Australia or Wales in Marseille on the opening weekend of October.
Schalk is a robust player who gives 120% every match. This means the tournament will be without the former IRB Player of the Year, until the semi final stages anyway. Four matches is harsh in my opinion, especially considering neither the touch judge or ref viewed this as a yellow card offence.
The IRB are clearly laying down the law on dirty play though, which at the end of the day is a good thing.
Update: Burger and the Springboks appealed this decision, and this morning it was ruled that he will only be suspended for TWO matches, not four. So he will miss the crunch match against England tomorrow, but will be available should South Africa make the quarter finals.