WP Rugby stalwart Schalk Burger has signed a two-year contract with Japanese club, Suntory Sungoliath, but he will continue to be available to play for the DHL Stormers.
“First of all, I think everybody would agree with me when I say that Schalk Burger has been one of WP Rugby’s most loyal sons of the modern professional rugby era,” said WPRFU President Thelo Wakefield.
“Schalk has put his body on the line for DHL Western Province and the DHL Stormers since 2003. He has never had a professional rugby contract anywhere else, so he goes on this adventure (to Japan) with our blessing.
“We wish him, his wife Michele and their sons the best of luck, but we also look forward to welcoming them back next year,” added Wakefield.
Burger will link up with his new club in August and will thus not feature for DHL Western Province in the 2014 Absa Currie Cup, but he will return to Cape Town for the 2015 Vodacom Super Rugby season.
Wakefield told the www.iamastormer.com website: “Although Schalk will be a massive loss for DHL Western Province during the 2014 Absa Currie Cup, he will once again be available for the DHL Stormers in the 2015 Super Rugby competition and, of course, the Springboks in the lead-up to the next year’s Rugby World Cup.
“Schalk will be missed during the period of August and October, but we look forward to seeing him back in Cape Town in 2015, refreshed and recharged and ready to once again contribute to the DHL Stormers with his usual gusto.”
Thirty-one-year-old Burger played his first senior match for DHL WP in 2003 (against the Mighty Elephants), boasting a total of 37 caps for Province. He has also played 95 matches for the DHL Stormers since his Super Rugby debut against the Waratahs in 2004.
The most-capped Springbok flank of all time, Burger has 68 Springbok caps to his name and was part of the Tri-Nations winning teams of 2004 and 2009, as well as playing a pivotal role in South Africa’s 2007 Rugby World Cup triumph.
Burger was voted the IRB World Player of the Year in 2004 and the SA Rugby Player of the Year in 2004 and 2011.