Jacques Burger (Gallo Images)
London - Namibia’s inspirational captain Jacques Burger has
been ruled out of his country’s final Rugby World Cup Pool C game against
Argentina on Sunday, thereby ending an illustrious international career.
Burger suffered a confirmed concussion nine minutes into the
match against Georgia at Sandy Park in Exeter on Wednesday evening and will not
be able to play against the Pumas in Leicester.
Burger’s Test career for Namibia spanned over nine years and
36 caps which included three Rugby World Cup appearances - in 2007, 2011 and
2015. On Wednesday night, he equalled Hugo Horn’s 11 Rugby World Cup
appearances for his country.
Before the team’s departure for Leicester on Thursday
morning, Burger reflected on his career.
“It was a huge disappointment that I could not complete last
night’s match and an even bigger disappointment that I will not be able to play
on Saturday. I am very proud of my team
and it is not the way that you would want to end an international career. But
that’s the game of rugby for you.”
Sunday’s match against Argentina would have been his last
"I was really hoping to finish my international career
in style, the emotions were building up to the match on Sunday and to have it
ended abruptly like this after just ten minutes is a bit of a setback. But I
have no regrets, I have had a wonderful time playing for Namibia with my
friends,” said Burger.
“A lot of people have asked me why I chose to play for
Namibia. I am a Namibian, I grew up with a lot of the guys I am playing with
now, played with and against them at school. It was an honour for me to
represent Namibia and I have never regretted it.”
Bradley Basson, president of the Namibia Rugby Union, paid
tribute to Burger.
“Jacques’ contribution to Namibian Rugby has been immense. He
is an inspirational leader and a true ambassador for all Namibians. He is a
role model to all Namibian sportsmen and women and many rugby players in our
country aspire to be like him one day. We wish him well in his last season at
Saracens and hope that one day when he returns home we could involve him in
The CEO of the Namibian Rugby Union, Sybrand de Beer, also
“Through the way Jacques played, he portrayed what being
Namibia is all about. Hard-working, honest, courageous and proud. I want to
thank Jacques for his loyal service to the union and his team-mates and wish
him well for the next phase in his life.”
Namibia Head Coach Phil Davies said Burger epitomised
professionalism and loyalty to his team.
“In my career as coach I have worked with exceptional
captains. Jacques is one of them, an inspirational captain who led from the
front and a true leader on and off the field. Jacques has played a huge role in
Namibia’s performances at this Rugby World Cup and has left a wonderful legacy
on which future Namibian rugby players can build on.”
After the World Cup, Burger will return to English club side
Saracens for his last season with the Aviva Premiership champions.