Schalk Burger doesn't rule out Test return

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    10 Oct 2018     Getty Images

Burger, 35, who played 86 Tests before his last game in 2015 at the Rugby World Cup, told a rugby podcast, The Late Tackle, that he would never turn down the opportunity to play for the Springboks again.

"I know Rassie very well and have worked with him for a long time. I'm not too sure about it [Test rugby], but first and foremost I'm trying to play as well as I can for Saracens. At this moment, it looks like I might move on, but I don't think I'll ever say no," he said.

Burger said there was no doubt the Springboks had progressed under Erasmus in 2018, especially in finishing second in the Investec Rugby Championship.

However, in spite of the Springboks' showings against the All Blacks, he believes their November tour will provide a more accurate assessment of how much progress they have made. South Africa are to play England on November 3 followed by games against France, Scotland and Wales.

"I've really enjoyed this massive energy around the Bok set-up. The team is playing with a lot of guts and with an identity that in the previous years they were lacking a little bit.

"As always, I think the challenge comes when conditions don't quite suit us," he said.

'We find it quite difficult to find territory and create pressure conditions that are trying, for example, the Newlands [Cape Town where England won 25-10] Test against England in June. We've got to improve technically and be more tactically astute.

"When we're playing in good conditions – like the two highveld games against England [South Africa won 42-39 and 23-12] – where our big forwards came around the corner with Faf de Klerk and Handre Pollard marshalling the game, we find it easy to play with tempo," he said.

Because of that November would be a big test for the side because the conditions would be challenging.

"What the teams over here are very good at is creating pressure through kicking, excellent exit play and just structuring things a bit differently. South Africa is better at playing heads-up rugby, using the forwards around the corner. It's going to be a tough tour in November," he said.

Just how much tougher was revealed when the Sale Sharks confirmed to South African media that halfback Faf de Klerk will not be released to play for the Springboks at all during the tour.