Burger relishing new chapter in England

Wed, 17 Aug 2016 13:31

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Springbok flank Schalk Burger says he is relishing a new challenge at Saracens after joining the English club's pre-season training earlier this week.

The World Cup winner has moved to north London to join the reigning Premiership champions after a 14-year career with Western Province and the Stormers in Cape Town.

Burger is one of five new recruits to Mark McCall’s double-winning side. 

He has captained South Africa during his stellar 12-year international career and is a former World Player of the Year. 

The 33-year-old has won 86 caps for the Springboks and holds the record for the most tries (14) for a back row forward. 

"My international career was coming to an end and I thought that Saracens was a great place to go," Burger said.

"With the South African influence here and the group of English talent that runs throughout the organisation, the whole culture of the club is a good fit for me and my family.

"You can get to a certain stage in your career where you want to change things a bit, so for the last two years with the Stormers, I had a dual contract with them and Suntory in Japan, so the next step for me was that I needed to challenge myself again.

"Moving to England is super exciting and it is something that I've always wanted to do. I'm settling in as quickly as possible, and it'll probably be a few more weeks until I'm completely settled. It's still a bit helter-skelter, I haven't moved into my new home yet and my family is still back in South Africa but it's been great to come into Saracens and start the process of settling in. I'm learning all the time, how Saracens want to play rugby and how they do things off the pitch."

Burger brings a wealth of experience to the Saracens' squad and reveals he is looking forward to playing alongside Saracens' home grown talent who have been at the heart of England's recent success under former Saracens head coach Eddie Jones.

"Funnily enough, I recognised quite a number of faces when I arrived," said Burger. 

"There are quite a few guys who I've played with during my time with the Stormers over a decade ago, and I'd never thought I'd play rugby with them again so it's been great to catch up with them. 

"Mikey [Michael] Rhodes came over last year, Brad Barritt I used to play against when he was based in Durban for The Sharks as did Alistair Hargreaves.

"Then there's all of the English players and we’ve been watching how well they have been doing recently, especially with Eddie [Jones] in charge, so I know a good number of them but obviously there’s still a few more guys I need to get to know."

On his move to Allianz Park, Burger added: "Saracens is where I wanted to come. I just want to come here and enjoy my rugby, that's the main thing and I have to keep it that way. My main aim is not to get ahead of myself, and concentrate on my own game within the Saracens' structures and be influential. You have to focus on yourself and try to adapt to how the team plays, find your niche in that team and play well. It's also well documented that I'm good in the pub, so when the time is right I'll hope to add value there too."

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Fri, 15 December 2017
Ulster v Harlequins 19h45 Kingspan Stadium
Sat, 16 December 2017
Treviso v Scarlets 13h00 Stadio Comunale di Monigo
Montpellier v Glasgow Warriors 13h00 Altrad Stadium
Leinster v Exeter Chiefs 15h15 Aviva Stadium
Racing Metro v Castres 15h15 Stade Yves-du-Manoir
Bath v Toulon 17h30 Recreation Ground
Sun, 17 December 2017
Wasps v La Rochelle 13h00 Ricoh Arena
Clermont Auvergne v Saracens 15h15 Stade Marcel-Michelin
Ospreys v Northampton Saints 15h15 Liberty Stadium
Leicester Tigers v Munster 17h30 Welford Road
Fri, 22 December 2017
Wasps v Gloucester 22h00 Ricoh Arena
Newcastle Falcons v Harlequins 22h00 Kingston Park
Northampton Saints v Exeter Chiefs 22h00 Franklin's Gardens
Leicester Tigers v Saracens 22h00 Welford Road
Worcester Warriors v Leicester Tigers 22h00 Sixways
Sale Sharks v Bath 22h00 AJ Bell Stadium
RESULT SCORE
Mon, 11 December 2017
Saracens v Clermont Auvergne 14 | 46
Sun, 10 December 2017
Exeter Chiefs v Leinster 8 | 18
Harlequins v Ulster 5 | 17
La Rochelle v Wasps 49 | 29
Sat, 09 December 2017
Munster v Leicester Tigers 33 | 10
Castres v Racing Metro 16 | 13
Northampton Saints v Ospreys 32 | 43
Toulon v Bath 24 | 20
Scarlets v Treviso 33 | 28
Fri, 08 December 2017
Glasgow Warriors v Montpellier 22 | 29
Sun, 03 December 2017
Harlequins v Saracens 20 | 19
Sat, 02 December 2017
Cheetahs v Scarlets 28 | 21
Munster v Ospreys 36 | 10
Wasps v Leicester Tigers 32 | 25
Treviso v Leinster 10 | 36
PREMIERSHIP
MORE LOGS
Team P W D L Pts
Exeter Chiefs 10 8 0 2 40
Gloucester 10 7 0 3 32
Saracens 10 6 0 4 31
Bath 10 6 0 4 30
Wasps 10 6 0 4 29
Leicester Tigers 10 6 0 4 28
Harlequins 10 5 0 5 24
Newcastle Falcons 10 5 0 5 24
Sale Sharks 10 4 0 6 23
Northampton Saints 10 4 0 6 22
Worcester Warriors 10 2 0 8 14
London Irish 10 1 0 9 8