Schalk Burger. Picture: AFP
Schalk Burger. Picture: AFP

Former Springbok great Schalk Burger will return to Cape Town from England in June‚ which should formally mark the end of his remarkable career.

The 35-year-old Burger will complete a three-year stint at British club Saracens and return to his home country with his wife and two young sons.

But he is unlikely to play for Western Province or the Stormers again.

Burger played the last of his 86 Tests in the bronze-medal match at Rugby World Cup 2015 while he also served Western Province and Stormers rugby with distinction from 2003 to 2015.

Burger won the 2002 Junior World Cup‚ the 2004 and 2009 Tri-Nations‚ the 2007 World Cup‚ picked up a series against the British & Irish Lions in 2009 and was named World Player of the Year in 2004. He also captained the Springboks against the All Blacks in 2015.

His time at Saracens was also successful‚ winning the 2017 European Champions Cup.

“I’m going to leave Saracens a happy man. I’ve made great friends here and that’s pretty much the standout feature‚” Burger said.

“The way we go about enjoying rugby‚ enjoying spending time together‚ the trips I’ve had with the team — and we’ve won a couple of trophies since I’ve been here too, so I have a lot of great memories.

“In rugby you go through phases where you play well and don’t play well‚ but at the end of the day that’s the by-product. What you care about is the quality of the human and the quality of time we’ve spent together as a club.

“I’d like to say a massive thank you to everyone for taking not only me in but my whole family. We’ve had a lot of success on the field but what stands out is the friendships I’ve made off the field, so a massive thank you to everyone involved.”

Director of rugby Mark McCall added: “It has been a privilege to have Schalk at Saracens. He embodies many of the values we hold dear: competing in every moment‚ being a great teammate‚ leaving the club in a better place than you found it.

“We have all learned a great deal from one of rugby’s truly great players. We wish him and his family every success in the future.”