London - Namibia’s inspirational captain Jacques Burger has been ruled out of his country’s final Rugby World Cup Pool C game against Argentina on Sunday, thereby ending an illustrious international career.
Burger suffered a confirmed concussion nine minutes into the match against Georgia at Sandy Park in Exeter on Wednesday evening and will not be able to play against the Pumas in Leicester.
Burger’s Test career for Namibia spanned over nine years and 36 caps which included three Rugby World Cup appearances - in 2007, 2011 and 2015. On Wednesday night, he equalled Hugo Horn’s 11 Rugby World Cup appearances for his country.
Before the team’s departure for Leicester on Thursday morning, Burger reflected on his career.
“It was a huge disappointment that I could not complete last night’s match and an even bigger disappointment that I will not be able to play on Saturday. I am very proud of my team and it is not the way that you would want to end an international career. But that’s the game of rugby for you.”
Sunday’s match against Argentina would have been his last for Namibia.
"I was really hoping to finish my international career in style, the emotions were building up to the match on Sunday and to have it ended abruptly like this after just ten minutes is a bit of a setback. But I have no regrets, I have had a wonderful time playing for Namibia with my friends,” said Burger.
“A lot of people have asked me why I chose to play for Namibia. I am a Namibian, I grew up with a lot of the guys I am playing with now, played with and against them at school. It was an honour for me to represent Namibia and I have never regretted it.”
Bradley Basson, president of the Namibia Rugby Union, paid tribute to Burger.
“Jacques’ contribution to Namibian Rugby has been immense. He is an inspirational leader and a true ambassador for all Namibians. He is a role model to all Namibian sportsmen and women and many rugby players in our country aspire to be like him one day. We wish him well in his last season at Saracens and hope that one day when he returns home we could involve him in Namibia rugby.”
The CEO of the Namibian Rugby Union, Sybrand de Beer, also praised Burger.
“Through the way Jacques played, he portrayed what being Namibia is all about. Hard-working, honest, courageous and proud. I want to thank Jacques for his loyal service to the union and his team-mates and wish him well for the next phase in his life.”
Namibia Head Coach Phil Davies said Burger epitomised professionalism and loyalty to his team.
“In my career as coach I have worked with exceptional captains. Jacques is one of them, an inspirational captain who led from the front and a true leader on and off the field. Jacques has played a huge role in Namibia’s performances at this Rugby World Cup and has left a wonderful legacy on which future Namibian rugby players can build on.”
After the World Cup, Burger will return to English club side Saracens for his last season with the Aviva Premiership champions.