Mon 2 Jun 2014 | 09:39
Burger heading to Japan
Mon 2 Jun 2014 | 09:39
Burger heading to JapanSHARE
Rob Wagner, the CEO of Western Province Rugby, has confirmed that Schalk Burger will be heading to Japan at the culmination of the Super Rugby season.
Burger has signed for one of Japan's bigger clubs, Suntory Sungoliath.
Burger, who has recently made a miraculous return from illness and injury, has been in prolific form for the Stormers which has seen him called up for the Springboks.
There has been an ongoing discussion with 2004 IRB Player of the Year to discuss terms with everything being finalised on Wednesday.
"I can confirm that Schalk will be heading to Japan, there has been ongoing discussion," Wagner told rugby365.
"We do not have all the details just yet, we will be meeting on Wednesday to finalise all the details."
WPRFU President Thelo Wakefield added some sentimental thoughts about the Stormers stalwart's departure.
"First of all, I think everybody would agree with me when I say that Schalk Burger has been one of Western Province Rugby’s most loyal sons of the modern professional rugby era,” he said.
“Schalk has put his body on the line for Western Province and the Stormers since 2003. He has never had a professional rugby contract anywhere else, so he goes on this adventure [to Japan] with our blessing.
“We wish him, his wife Michele and their sons the best of luck, but we also look forward to welcoming them back next year,” added Wakefield.
Burger will link up with his new club in August and will thus not feature for Western Province in the 2014 Currie Cup, but he will return to Cape Town for the 2015 Super Rugby season.
Wakefield added: “Although Schalk will be a massive loss for Western Province during the 2014 Currie Cup, he will once again be available for the Stormers in the 2015 Super Rugby competition and, of course, the Springboks in the lead-up to the next year’s Rugby World Cup.
“Schalk will be missed during the period of August and October, but we look forward to seeing him back in Cape Town in 2015, refreshed and recharged and ready to once again contribute to the Stormers with his usual gusto.”
The details around Burger's move are not clear, and Wagner would not commit to an answer, but the speculation is that the move could be money-driven.
It is expected that Burger will return to South Africa for next-year's Super Rugby season.
He will be following in the foot steps of Danie Rossouw and George Smith who played some of their later years at Suntory Sungoliath.
Burger will also be linking up with Springbok scrumhalf Fourie du Preez.
By Darryn Pollock