SA to appeal Burger ban

SUSPENDED: Schalk Burger. PIc. Froncois Mori. 14/09/07. © AP.
SUSPENDED: Schalk Burger. PIc. Froncois Mori. 14/09/07. © AP.

PARIS - South Africa are to appeal the four-match ban handed out to star back row forward Schalk Burger which would see him miss Friday's crucial World Cup clash with England.

PARIS - South Africa are to appeal the four-match ban handed out to star back row forward Schalk Burger which would see him miss Friday's crucial World Cup clash with England.

The 24-year-old flanker - the IRB player of the year in 2004 - picked up the suspension for his tackle on Samoan scrumhalf Junior Poluleuligaga in Sunday's 59-7 win.

South African coach Jake White said: "We are not happy about the decision, we will appeal it.

"Of course I was shocked. You lose a player like Schalk Burger, you get told at one in the morning after the hearing, it is not something that you take without being shocked about it."

White, who guided South Africa to the 2004 Tri Nations title, having already won the world Under-21 championship in 2002, said that Burger was upset.

"He is not happy, I mean the guy is still relatively young and he wants to play as much as he can." If the appeal fails he will miss South Africa's remaining pool matches and the quarterfinals if they make it that far.

Burger pleaded not guilty but a World Cup statement issued on Wednesday said: "He executed a reckless and sloppy tackle that was high and dangerous."

The statement added that there were no aggravating circumstances.

But there were several mitigating factors, including Burger's remorse over the incident, his excellent conduct at the hearing and his good disciplinary record.

White will be leading the Springboks for the 48th time since taking over in 2004. - Sapa-AFP

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