Saracens swell forward ranks with capture of South Africa World Cup winner Schalk Burger

Ross McLean
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Saracens boss Mark McCall revelled in his capture of “one of the world’s finest” after the club announced the signing of influential South Africa back-row forward Schalk Burger on a two-year deal ahead of next season.

World Cup-winner Burger, who has won 86 caps for the Springboks, will link up with his new side ahead of the 2016-17 campaign after spells with Japanese outfit Suntory Sungoliath and Super Rugby’s Stormers.

By next season back-row duo Ernst Joubert and Jacques Burger will have departed Allianz Park, although McCall insists the impending arrival of the 32-year-old former World Player of the Year represents sizeable compensation.

“Schalk is a Springbok legend and will add a huge amount of experience and quality to our young English pack of forwards at the club,” said McCall.

“We have always talked about having the right blend of experience and youth in our squad, so to be able to add one of the world’s finest players to the group is extremely exciting news.

“He is a man who had achieved everything there is to achieve in the game of rugby. Not only is he a fine rugby player, he is a humble and down to earth guy who we believe will fit into the Saracens environment.”

Loose-forward Burger holds the record for the most tries, 14, scored by South Africa flanker and insists the challenge of English domestic rugby and European competition was a major lure.

“I’m delighted to be joining Saracens,” he said. “I’m extremely excited to have the opportunity to play in both the Aviva Premiership and the European Cup, two of the leading competitions in world rugby for such a special club.”