Yes to Springbok rugby and no to Saracens.
That was the message on Wednesday from the Stormers’ Springbok flank, Schalk Burger, when he was asked whether he would be part of the exodus of players to the English club.
“I am with the Stormers until the end of the year. I want to play my rugby here. There are big Tests coming up against the British and Irish Lions, as well as a Tri-Nations,” said Burger.
“I would like to play in South Africa and for the Springboks for as long as possible. If I want to do that, I probably can’t go overseas.”
Saracens were planning a loan agreement with Burger for 10 games during the Currie Cup. It is believed that Stormers captain Jean de Villiers was also in their sights.
Brendan Venter, who is currently working as a defence consultant for the Stormers, will assume the role of director of rugby at Saracens in July.
It was reported on Wednesday that the English club had decided not to renew the contracts of 15 players, including former All Black lock Chris Jack.
Saracens reportedly wants to replace them all with South Africans, but that is not entirely accurate. However, a handful of South Africans are in Saracens’ sights.
Loose forward Justin Melck has already joined, while a source told Die Burger that Stormers hooker Schalk Brits has “already signed” for the club. Brits can effect an escape clause in his contract after the Super14.
It has been reliably learned that offers are also on the table for the Lions duo of hooker Ethienne Reynecke and lock Anton van Zyl.
Meanwhile, Stormers coach Rassie Erasmus has stated that he is not interested in swopping players with Saracens. Sail have shares in Saracens as well as Western Province.
“Brendan did not get the job at Saracens because of his links with WP. It was because he had previously coached in England. There is no formal link between Saracens and WP,” said Erasmus.
“We are not going to swop players. When Brendan finishes with us in May, we will view Saracens as the same kind of opposition (for playing resources) as a club like Toulon.
“Players are contractually bound not to negotiate now. That is why I’m not really concerned by all the rumours.”
This article was written by Stephen Nell and originally published in Die BurgerTweet