Burger clarifies his Bok status
Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer
Cape Town - Having a fierce last crack at the Super Rugby title with the Stormers … then bedding down for his two-year deal with English Premiership club Saracens.
Those are the immediate priorities of 86-cap Springbok Schalk Burger, he emphasised to Sport24 on Thursday.
Burger, 33, was one of several senior Boks who either “officially” gave or – in his case - appeared to give emotion-charged, farewell-like waves to the crowd at London’s Olympic Stadium after the bronze playoff match against Argentina at the World Cup in late October last year.
But the blond, increasingly versatile back-row dynamo has not formally retired from the green-and-gold landscape subsequently, raising some speculation that he might come into the picture as the Boks try to improve on their narrow June series triumph over Ireland by making a success of the annual Castle Rugby Championship.
Reading between the lines, though, Burger, always a heart-and-soul competitor, adding to his tally of Test appearances in the four-nation competition seems a lean prospect.
“Look, I suppose in the longer run there might still be possibilities but my situation at present is not being available (for South Africa): I’m going across to Saracens quite soon and want to leave a good impression, especially in my first season.
“So for the moment … not really, though you never know; maybe one year on an end-of-season Bok tour of the northern hemisphere, there are a few injuries and I might try to help out the cause.
“All I am really thinking about at the moment is finishing on a high note with the Stormers (a career he began in 2004 – Sport24) and then Sarries flat-out.
“I have had a few lengthy discussions with (Bok coach) Allister Coetzee, but it is those two (other) responsibilities at present; I’ve made that decision.
“You never know, of course … I must say I am much more nervous these days watching the Springboks than I was playing for them; the last series did have me on the edge of my seat! I really hope they can go well in the Championship.”
*Don’t miss on Sport24, on Friday, Rob Houwing’s one-on-one interview with Schalk Burger about his yeoman 14-year tenure with the Stormers/WP at Newlands.