Namibian international Jacques Burger is scheduled to travel to Windhoek this weekend to join the national squad ahead of the two Test match Windhoek Draught Friendship Series against Russia starting on July 11. Speaking from London where he was still training with his club outfit Saracens this week, Burger said he was very excited to play at home again: ‘It is always great to play in front of your people, friends and family. I am really looking forward to join up with my team mates and represent my country again.’ Burger played the last of his 30 Test matches for his country in Namibia’s 12-19 defeat to Canada in Colwyn Bay in November last year and if selected for the first Test against Russia it will be his first appearance for the Welwitschias on home soil since November 2009 agains Tunisia.
Burger says: ‘The senior players will all be back and we need to support the very talented local based players with our experience and decision making on the field. I really can’t wait to play for Namibia again.’ Regarded as one of the most abrasive and effective open-side flankers in European rugby, Burger earlier this year made his 100th appearance for Saracens and then celebrated the mile-stone a week later by featuring in Saracens 28-18 win over Bath in the Aviva premiership Final. The 31-year old was plagued by injuries in 2013 and early in 2014 but made a remarkable comeback to be part of Saracens’ second Premiership title in five years.
Burger says he is very happy with his physical condition: ‘It was a very long season in Europe and we played a lot of rugby over the three competitions. I have had a month off, it has done me a great deal of good and I feel that I am ready to give my best again.’ Burger was adamant that the recent turmoil in Namibian Rugby which saw the resignation of coach Danie Vermeulen less than 100 days before the Rugby Would Cup would not affect his team’s campaign leading up to Rugby World cup 2015: ‘There was a lot said and done off the field but with us as players nothing has changed. To represent your country is a privilege not many people enjoy. We promise our supporters that we will continue to give our best, stay positive and work towards our goal of recording a first ever victory at Rugby World Cup.’
Burger called on the Namibian people to rally behind the team: ‘We can’t achieve our goal without the support of the entire country and hope the public will get behind us. This will give us the confidence we need going into the Test series against Russia and the rest of our campaign leading up to Rugby World Cup 2015.’ Before jetting out to Namibia, Burger will visit SW19 to watch tennis at Wimbledon.