25 Jul 2015

Burger to captain Springboks

12:18 pm on 25 July 2015

The experienced loose forward Schalk Burger has been named as Springboks captain to take on the All Blacks in Johannesburg.

Burger becomes the 55th Springbok captain at Ellis Park.

Springbok loose forward Schalk Burger

Springbok loose forward Schalk Burger Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The 32-year-old Burger has been named interim captain, in the absence of the injured Jean de Villiers and Victor Matfield.

He assumes the captaincy from Matfield, who was ruled out of action in the short term after suffering a hamstring strain against Australia last weekend.

Springboks coach Heyneke Meyer said Burger has been a magnificent servant of Springbok rugby and he fully deserves this responsibility.

Meyer said the resilience he's shown in coming back from serious injury and illness are the kind of qualities he looks for in players as well as teams he coaches.

He said Burger has always led through example and has distinguished himself as one of the best leaders in South African rugby in the last decade, and he's very excited to see what he can bring in the absence of Jean and Victor.

Burger has captained the Stormers and Western Province with distinction and will become the 10th most-capped Springbok this weekend, winning his 77th cap, moving level with lock forward Mark Andrews.

He overcame serious injury and illness in 2014 to fight his way back into Test contention, recapturing the form that made him one of the most highly regarded loose forwards in world rugby.

Burger was named World Rugby Player of the Year in 2004 and has twice been named the South African Rugby Player of the Year, in 2004 and 2011. He was a member of the Rugby World Cup-winning side in 2007 and played in the South African team that won the Under-21 World Cup in 2002.

His father, Schalk Burger Senior played six Tests for South Africa between 1984 and 1986.

Burger Junior, who made his Test debut at the Rugby World Cup in 2003, says he's humbled by the decision to name him captain.

Burger said he's a very proud man, but at the same time he's humbled by the faith the coach have shown in him.

He said ever since he first put on the Springbok jersey, his dream has been to represent his country with distinction and to make South Africans proud.

Burger said this is an honour that is bestowed upon only a select few people and he'll do whatever is needed for the team. With this position comes "massive responsibility" and he said he's very excited for game day.

Fact file:

Full name: Schalk Willem Petrus Burger

Date and place of birth: 13 April 1983, Port Elizabeth

Height and weight: 1.93m and 110kg

Springbok number: 754

Test debut: 24 September, 2003 vs Georgia in Sydney

Total tests: 76

Test tries: 14 (12 as flanker, which is a Springbok record)

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