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South African Rugby
Schalk Burger returns to rugby
September 28, 2013
Stormers captain Schalk Burger feels the force of the Hurricanes defence, Stormers v Hurricanes, Super Rugby, Newlands, Cape Town, South Africa, February 25, 2012
Schalk Burger had not played since this tackle when the Stormers faced the Hurricanes in February 2012 © Getty Images
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Schalk Burger has played in a competitive rugby game for the first time in 18 months.

The Rugby World Cup 2007 winner and former International Rugby Board player of the year came off the bench for the final 20 minutes as Western Province defeated Free State Cheetahs 29-27 in the Currie Cup, his first match since injuring a knee in the opening round of the 2012 Super Rugby season.

Burger has also struggled during his absence with a calf injury, underwent surgery to remove a cyst pressing on his spine, and overcome bacterial meningitis contracted in hospital. He needed nearly four months to recover from infection, remaining in the hospital for six weeks and having to stay indoors for another eight weeks after he was released.

Burger didn't make any major contributions for his Cape Town-based team after being introduced in the 60th minute in Bloemfontein, but Western Province trailed the Cheetahs when he went on before securing victory to remain top of the Currie Cup standings.

The 30-year-old loose forward, capped 68 times for South Africa, last played a Test for the Springboks two years ago.

© AAP
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