Cape Town - Schalk Burger says this season has rejuvenated his belief that he can make an impact at the highest level, the MyPlayers website reports.
The past 18 months have been a difficult period for the veteran Springbok and Stormers loose forward because of a nightmare run of long-term injuries.
He eventually enjoyed a full recovery in 2014 and has returned to top form, displaying outstanding individual performances for the Stormers during Super Rugby.
This saw him recalled to the Springbok squad for the first time since the 2011 World Cup as he ran out against Wales and Scotland in June.
Burger admitted that he was concerned during his time on the sidelines.
"At certain stages during my injuries, I wondered if I'd ever return to the top of my game... if I'd ever be good enough again," Burger told MyPlayers. "So it's phenomenal being back and playing.
"After the first couple of weeks following my injuries, I realised that I could still play at the highest level. That's thanks to the challenge of Super Rugby as you get the opportunity of playing at a high standard of rugby week in and week out.
"Getting to play for the Springboks again was also special, especially when I got my start against Scotland.
"It hasn't been easy, but I have a good appetite for rugby as I missed out on a lot over the past 18 months. So hopefully I can avoid the injuries and play some decent rugby over the next few years."
Burger has also agreed to join Japanese club Suntory Sungoliath after Super Rugby. He said moving to the Far East will be a great experience for him and his young family, as well as the opportunities to keep playing for the Stormers and Springboks over the next few years.
"The Japanese season goes over six months, so it's a chance to experience a new culture. Rugby is also the quickest growing sport over there and they will host the 2019 World Cup, so that's exciting," said Burger.
"The club also knows that I still have a burning desire to play for the Stormers and Springboks, and they have agreed to accommodate that. A move to Europe was on the cards, but it would've ruled me out of Super Rugby and would limit my Bok opportunities because of club commitments."
Burger added that Springbok scrumhalf Fourie du Preez, who is also based at Suntory, helped him make the decision to head to Japan.
"Fourie loves Japan," said Burger. "Unfortunately, he's injured now, so he'll miss a part of the season. I'm sad he's not going to be there during my first few months because my Japanese is not up to scratch.
"Having played there for a number of years, Fourie can speak Japanese. He's very good. I've seen him order steaks, beers and wine, so I'm sad I can't use his expertise."
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