Springboks legend Schalk Burger is joining Mark McCall's Saracens

The 32-year-old has signed a two-year deal with the Premiership club.

SARACENS HAVE ANNOUNCED the signing of Schalk Burger on a two-year contract.

The 32-year-old Springboks legend will join the English Premiership side next season.

South AfricaÕs Schalk Burger Burger has played in four World Cups, winning the 2007 tournament. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Burger was superb in South Africa’s World Cup campaign earlier this season, carrying with ferocious regularity and also showing off his passing ability as the Springboks finished third after recovering from a shock opening defeat to Japan.

86-times capped Burger – currently playing with Suntory Sungoliath in Japan – was IRB World Player of the Year in 2004 and has played at a consistently world-class level when fit. He has featured in a total of four World Cups, helping the Boks to the 2007 trophy.

The 6’4″ back row came close to dying in 2013 when he contracted bacterial meningitis after an operation on a cyst in his leg. Burger fought his way back to health and then match fitness to make a return to rugby, culminating with his World Cup impact in 2015.

The signing of Burger is another major boost to an already outstanding Saracens squad, which currently boasts the likes of Billy Vunipola, Samuela Vunisa, Will Fraser, Kelly Brown, Jackson Wray and Michael Rhodes as back-row options.

“I’m delighted to be joining Saracens,” said Burger. “I’m extremely excited to have the opportunity to play in both the Aviva Premiership and the 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 both on and off the field to an already successful group of players and coaches. I’m looking forward to playing alongside my new teammates and playing in front of all the Saracens fans and getting to know everyone at Allianz Park.”

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Schalk Burger celebrates with fans Burger has been a great servant of South African rugby. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Meanwhile, the club’s Irish director of rugby, Mark McCall, welcomed the latest addition to his squad.

“Schalk is a Springbok legend, and will add a huge amount of experience and quality to our young English pack of forwards at the club,” 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 news.

“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 we will fit into the Saracens environment.

“We’re all very excited to welcome Schalk and his family to Allianz Park for the 2016 season.”

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Murray Kinsella

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