Saracens signing Schalk Burger is one of the best in the world, says Mark McCall
PUBLISHED: 15:37 06 January 2016 | UPDATED: 15:37 06 January 2016
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Saracens’ director of rugby Mark McCall believes the club have signed one of the best players in the world after agreeing a deal to bring South Africa flanker Schalk Burger to Allianz Park.
The 32-year-old – who has played in four World Cups and lifted the Webb Ellis trophy in 2007 – will join the Premiership champions next season on a two-year deal.
“Schalk is a Springbok legend and will add a huge amount of experience and quality to our young English forwards,” 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.
“By the beginning of next season we will have lost two highly experienced back row forwards in Ernst Joubert and Jacques Burger, so to have a player of Schalk’s calibre coming into the squad is fantastic.”
McCall added: “He is a man who has 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.”
Burger is relishing the opportunity to take on the best players in England and Europe.
“I’m delighted to be joining Saracens,” he said. “I’m extremely excited to have the opportunity to play in both the Premiership and European Cup – two of the leading competitions in world rugby – for such a special club.
“It’s an exciting challenge for me and my family and hopefully I can add a lot of value on and off the field to an already successful group of players and coaches.”
Saracens maintained their perfect record in all competitions this season after securing a 26-6 home win over Leicester Tigers in the league on Saturday – with a bonus point.
Freddie Burns kicked the visitors into the lead but Sarries were awarded a penalty try, which was converted by Charlie Hodgson. And, although Burns slotted over another penalty, the hosts led 7-6 at the break.
Replacement hooker Jamie George then bundled his way over the whitewash and the domination from the forwards was rewarded with two more penalty tries, while Hodgson added two more conversions.
Sarries have now won all of their eight Premiership fixtures so far this campaign – in addition to their four European clashes in the Champions Cup – and they are sitting six points clear at the top of the table.
Meanwhile, Leicester’s second defeat of the season meant they dropped to fourth, with Harlequins moving up to third – and Sarries visit Quins this Saturday.