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The return of Springbok flank Schalk Burger from long-standing injury has been delayed again after he was left out of the Stormers team for their first Super Rugby match of the season against the Bulls in Pretoria on Friday.
Burger, who has been out of action since last February, would not be selected for the first three matches of the season, said coach Allister Coetzee on Monday as he named his first selection of the new year.
Burger, world rugby's player of the year in 2004, went off after the first 20 minutes of the last Super Rugby with a knee injury that ruled him out of the rest of the season.
In recent weeks, a much-anticipated comeback has been delayed by a calf muscle tear that limited him to a training run at the weekend.
''At this stage of the season I don't want to risk it,'' the coach told reporters.
The Stormers face a tough opening trio of games with away derbies at the Bulls and Sharks and then a home game against last year's winners Waikato on March 9.
''We will leave it until after the Chiefs game, when we have our bye, before we reassess when Schalk may be ready to return,'' Coetzee added.
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