Jul 07, 2018
Good start is important - Burger
Schalk Burger is expecting a tough Gallagher Premiership opener against Newcastle Falcons but insists a side doesn’t know how difficult challenge they face in Round 1 until the game kicks-off.
The veteran South African was in attendance for the Prem Rugby Fixtures launch at BT Tower, chatting to the vast amount of media present to preview another exciting campaign of domestic rugby.
Instead of the usual London double-header, Saracens head north to take on Dean Richards’ Falcons at Kingston Park on Sunday 2nd September (15H00, live on BT Sport) and Burger admits, while last year’s play-off finishers have some silky playmakers in their back division, Sarries must ‘front up’.
“We’re back in pre-season and now we’ve had the Premiership Fixtures launch – the new season comes around really quickly!” he said.
“It’s a tough start. Newcastle are one of those teams who are difficult to play against because they have so many game-breakers. You feel like you’ve got the game under control and you’re heading into half-time trailing by a few points.
“It’s a tough fixture but I think it’s one of those you have to front up to. No one really knows how good your pre-season has been until the season starts – everyone says they’ve had a good one, ‘best one yet’ and ‘the team’s ready for it’ but you’re not too sure until the first game and this year will be no different for us.”
Saracens produced some scintillating rugby towards the back end of the 2017/18 term, winning their fourth English title with victory over Exeter Chiefs at Twickenham.
It was the Men in Black’s third success in four years and Burger says the side need to improve again due to the competitive nature of the league.
He said: “Last season was one of the most satisfying wins we’ve had and towards the end we were playing some of the best rugby in the two years I’ve been involved in Saracens.
“All of us are working to become a better side and we’re obviously at the forefront of it, but we’re not guaranteed to stay at the forefront.
“It’s so tight, it’s so competitive across the board, from the bottom placed side to the top placed side, so it’s a long season and we can’t get ahead of ourselves.
“We got to know where our strengths lie and try and improve, everyone one of us has to improve to stay ahead of the chasing pack.
“One of our strengths is that we don’t get ahead of ourselves, so as much as we want that trophy we have to go out and earn it, it’s not just going to happen.
“There are a lot of big games in the season and it’s important to get off to a good start, but every time during the season there are times when you get setbacks through injuries or not playing well.
“I’m certainly not looking too far ahead, we just want to get off to a good start and take it game by game. We’ll have a better idea after that first game where we’re at.”