Rugby World Cup
Schalk Burger admits it's time to move on as he ponder English 'sabbatical'
PA Sport
October 31, 2015
South Africa see off Pumas

Schalk Burger has admitted he would relish the chance for a sabbatical in the Aviva Premiership, but downplayed talk of an immediate move to England.

Burger has all but accepted his glittering Springboks career is at an end after Friday's 24-13 third-place playoff victory over Argentina closed South Africa's 2015 Rugby World Cup campaign.

The 32-year-old admitted "I think it's time to move on" after 86 caps, having fought back from bacterial meningitis that nearly claimed his life two years ago.

Bath and Saracens are understood to be keen to add Burger to their ranks for the current Premiership campaign, but the combative back-rower suggested he would complete the 2016 Super Rugby season with the Stormers.

"Absolutely: it's always nice to be at the stage of my career where you need some new challenges, so you never know," said Burger when asked if he wanted to play in England. "I'll relax now for a few weeks.

South Africa's Schalk Burger waves as he leaves his final Test © Getty Images
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"I've still got a lot of rugby coming up.

"I'm flying to Japan next weekend, that's the next challenge, and then after that back to the Stormers in Cape Town.

"It'll probably be my last season at the Stormers. You just move on to the next thing.

"I've had a good Springboks career, I haven't officially called it quits but I'll say I'm taking a bit of a sabbatical now.

"I've done well here and I think it's time to move on."

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South Africa started their World Cup campaign with 34-32 defeat to Japan, a shock result to rival any in the tournament's history.

The defeat sparked much hand-wringing, especially back in South Africa, with the country's sports minister publicly demanding a quick response.

The Springboks hit back to plough through to the semi-finals, only losing out to New Zealand 20-18.

Burger hailed Heyneke Meyer's men for turning their poor start on its head, admitting he can quit Test rugby happy with his haul having won the World Cup in 2007.

"This World Cup didn't get off to a perfect start, losing to Japan, and the last six weeks we've been playing knock-out rugby," said Burger.

"I'm immensely proud of the group. We stuck together and got a bronze medal.

"It's by no means perfect but under big pressure this group grew tighter and tighter.

"I just want to relax now, surround myself with my mates and drink a few beers.

"The semi-final was super close. If you look back New Zealand put us under a lot of pressure.

"Leading at half-time, nobody can take away there was some scoreboard pressure.

"A big call here or there and 20-18 could have been something different.

"But I've done two quarterfinals, a gold medal and a bronze medal so I can't complain."

© PA Sport

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