Cape Town - Jacques Burger has confirmed that he will retire from rugby after this weekend's Premiership game against Newcastle at Allianz Park.
The legendary back-row forward will take to the field for the last time on Sunday, ending a distinguished career in which he has made 113 appearances for Saracens and won 41 caps for his beloved Namibia.
Burger, who will head back to his homeland to begin a career as a farmer, says he is eagerly anticipating his final game at Allianz Park.
"Sunday will be the end of something really special for me. Going into the game knowing that it’s the last time I’ll ever run out on a rugby field is actually quite a nice feeling, as in this game you don’t get to do that very often. I just want to make it an incredible experience, and I hope it’s just a great occasion and that the boys do well on the day as well," he said.
Speaking about hanging up his boots after the Newcastle game, he said: "It is sad that it’s coming to an end but I’ve said this before, playing rugby is something that I have really loved doing. Growing up as a child I wanted to be a professional rugby player, and I have been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to live that dream. It’s been an amazing journey. I’ve loved every minute at Saracens, as it’s been like home from minute one. It has been an incredible ride."
Since arriving at the club as a relative unknown in 2009, Burger has carved out a reputation as one the game’s most feared back-row forwards. An unrelenting commitment to the game, coupled with his abrasive and physical style means the 32-year old will go down as a Saracens ‘great’ according to the club’s director of rugby, Mark McCall.
"Jacques has been an amazing player and person for Saracens,” said McCall.
“He set a phenomenal example on the field with his bravery and the way that he gave everything he could in every game that he played. Off the field, his resilience and resolve to deal with a potentially career ending injury was both remarkable and inspirational. He will always be remembered as one of the true greats of Saracens and hopefully we can give him the send-off he so richly deserves on Sunday.”
Club chairperson Nigel Wray also paid tribute to Burger describing him as one of the ‘greatest warriors’ to have ever played for the club.
“Jacques Burger is probably one of the greatest warriors ever to play for Saracens,” said Wray.
“Two Premierships and thousands of bone juddering tackles, what an impact he has made. Jacques is a true gentleman off the field and has played a huge role in creating the culture we have at Saracens today. We’ll miss him hugely, of course, but what memories we will all have.”