Cape Town - Schalk Burger says hard work lies ahead before Rassie Erasmus’ Springboks can be considered genuine contenders to win next year’s Rugby World Cup in Japan.
In a wide-ranging interview with English publication, The Rugby Paper, the former Bok flank said he had kept a close eye on the Springboks’ 2-1 home series win over England in June.
The Springboks secured the series when they won the first two Tests on the Highveld - 42-39 in Johannesburg and 23-12 in Bloemfontein.
England responded by winning the final Test 25-10 at a wet Newlands in Cape Town.
Burger said creating depth would be important for Bok coach Erasmus ahead of next year’s Rugby World Cup.
“We can’t be considered as genuine World Cup candidates yet, but, having said that, Rassie is going to get it right and the England series proved that we still have some super-talented athletes,” Burger said.
“From that perspective it was exciting and the tough part for Rassie now going into the Rugby Championship is how he’s going to manage winning Test matches whilst creating depth in his squad, which is in short supply.”
Burger noted the positions where the Boks needed to add to their depth.
“We need cover at No 8, 9, 10, 12 and 15 and in Cape Town he (Erasmus) tried to give a few other guys a chance but it didn’t really work. It’s going to be a heck of a juggling act for him because the public will still demand results come what may, but he knows he can’t enter a World Cup campaign without depth.”
Burger, who played for the Stormers during his Super Rugby playing days, represented his country in 86 Tests between 2003 and 2015.
He currently plies his trade at English club Saracens.