Schalk Burger off to JapanComment on this story
Cape Town - He likes his steak rare - but the Stormers’s blond human wrecking ball will soon be eating his meat raw.
Springbok and Stormers stalwart Schalk Burger will be swopping beef for sushi, with the news that he’s leaving these shores to join Japanese club Suntory Goliath.
Burger’s agent, Craig Livingstone, said on Monday: “He’s going for two years, starting in August and, doing so, fulfils one of his career ambitions of playing overseas and enjoying a different culture and rugby experience.
“He says he was drawn to Suntory because of their reputation and glowing reports from Suntory players, among them Springbok teammate Fourie du Preez.”
Burger said: “Rugby offers great opportunities to travel and expand your horizons.”
Burger was the International Rugby Board’s Player of the Year in 2004 and has played 68 times for the Springboks.
“Japan ticks all the boxes: it will be hosting the World Cup in 2019, it has an ambitious rugby programme and it’s an exotic location that will take me out of my comfort zone.
“I’m looking forward to the change and I’m also looking forward to learning new things. I will have my family along too, which will make the transition a lot easier,” he said.
Livingstone described Suntory as “one of Japan’s glamour clubs”.
“National coach Eddie Jones used to coach the first XV, while others who have worn the black-and-yellow colours include George Smith, George Gregan and Todd Clever,” he said.
Livingstone stressed the deal made provision for Burger to play for the Stormers or the Springboks, if he was called up by their coaches.