Burger: We're still learning

Flanker admits Boks are still adapting to law changes

Last Updated: 19/11/08 4:53pm

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Burger: Adapting

Burger: Adapting

Sky Bet

South Africa flanker Schalk Burger admits his side are still adapting to the stricter refereeing protocols on their season-ending tour of the northern hemisphere.

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The International Rugby Board have told referees to be much harsher at breakdowns with players going off their feet, and the Springboks have also had to adapt to the new experimental law variations.

The punishment for breaching these laws previously was a free-kick, however in the autumn internationals a penalty is now awarded.

"The breakdowns have been different to what we're used to," said Burger.

"The first game (against Wales), we conceded quite a few penalties.

"Last weekend there were less, so we hope we're improving. Every side is conceding more penalties at the breakdown, especially on the attack - so there's a change in mindset.


"They've changed the way they approach the breakdown on attack. We hope we can make that mental adjustment."

And Burger, while admitting it has been a learning curve this autumn, has urged his team-mates to be more disciplined against England at Twickenham on Saturday.

"The first week we weren't really prepared for it," Burger admits.

"(On Saturday) we need to try and stay on our feet, and the ball carrier's got to try and keep the ball up longer."

Asked whether he thought the new laws had compromised South Africa's attacking edge, Burger added: "No, I don't think it's blunted us.

"Even if you trip over someone you've just got to try and stay up somehow.

"As I said, it's just a change in mentality - and there's nothing else you can do. You've just got to be on your feet, and they're being very strict about it."

The Springboks have struggled to recapture the form which saw them win the World Cup a year ago - a ground-breaking win over New Zealand in Dunedin in the summer was a rare highlight in an otherwise mediocre 12 months.

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