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Bok hooker Burden lays claim to be Super Rugby's most unlucky player

By Online Editors
Craig Burden playing for the World XV (Photo by Luke Walker/Gallo Images)

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Craig Burden must be the most unlucky player in South Africa, perhaps even the world.

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For the second successive week the veteran hooker was poised to make his return to Super Rugby.

After having left the Sharks in 2013, the 33-year-old Burden was scheduled to make his comeback against the Rebels last week.

On Thursday he was again named on the bench for Saturday’s Round Seven showdown with the Bulls at Kings Park. No sooner had the team been mailed out to the media, then it emerged he suffered a bicep injury at training and was again replaced on the bench by Kerron van Vuuren.

The burly hooker, who started his career as a centre, played for the Sharks between 2006 and 2013 – before embarking on a five-year career in France, representing Toulon, Montpellier and Stade Français.

Coach Robert du Preez has made just two changes to the starting line-up this week.

Luke Stringer replaces Phepsi Buthelezi at flank and Lwazi Mvovo comes onto the wing in place of Sibusiso Nkosi.

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There is also a first call-up for Philip van der Walt – who returned from Japan with an injury, but is now back to full fitness and will join Burden in making an impact off the bench.

Stalwart prop Tendai Mtawarira stands on the cusp of making history. He will equal retired Adriaan Strauss’s record for being the most capped South African Super Rugby player.

After this match, the pair would have both featured in 156 appearances in the competition.

Strauss represented the Cheetahs and the Bulls, but Mtawarira has accomplished this record for just one team, the Sharks – since making his debut in 2007 – and will break the record South African record in his next appearance after this Saturday.

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Sharks: 15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Lwazi Mvovo, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Louis Schreuder (captain), 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Jacques Vermeulen, 6 Luke Stringer, 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 Ruben van Heerden, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Armand van der Merwe, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Kerron van Vuuren, 17 Thomas du Toit, 18 Khutha Mchunu, 19 Gideon Koegelenberg, 20 Philip van der Walt, 21 Grant Williams, 22 Kobus van Wyk, 23 Curwin Bosch.

Date: Saturday, March 30
Venue: Kings Park, Durban
Kick-off: 15.05 (13.05 GMT)
Referee: Mike Fraser
Assistant referees: Brendon Pickerill, Rasta Rasivhenge
TMO: Christie du Preez

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