Schalk Burger Bids Farewell To Jean De Villiers
Schalk Burger says it was tough to say goodbye to Springbok team-mate and close friend Jean de Villiers following his injury withdrawal from the Rugby World Cup.
Burger and De Villiers have been team-mates since age-group level as they both started their careers at Western Province and the Stormers. They’ve also featured together in the Springbok squad for the past 13 seasons.
De Villiers suffered a jaw fracture during South Africa’s victory over Samoa on Saturday, which has ruled him out of the rest of the tournament.
Burger said the two Springbok veterans spent time after the match to reflect on things.
“It’s obviously devastating news. I was right next to him when the injury happened. When you break a bone, there’s a certain sound you hear. And I knew it when Jean clashed with Tim Nanai-Williams,” Burger said from the team’s base in Newcastle.
“It’s super sad as that’s him done for the Springboks. We’ve been best mates for years, so it’s disappointing that it has to end this way. Then again, he’s had a phenomenal career.
“Jean is not only a great rugby player but he’s been a great friend to me and many guys in the squad.
“We sat up on Saturday night with a few beers. At this stage, he’s not sure what the next chapter will be, but I’m sure he will go on and finish his career on a high. I wish him safe travels.”
Burger added that they were joined by Springbok legend Danie Gerber and South African golfing legend Ernie Els on Saturday night.
“It was super special having Danie and Ernie with us. Those are our childhood heroes,” explained Burger. “Danie was recently conducted in the World Rugby Hall of Fame and Ernie is still competing in some of the top tournaments around the world, so it was great to spend some time with them.
“Speaking to Danie and Ernie reminded us how important the Springboks are to many people. Not only to the fans back at home but to all the South Africans around the world.
“It was also great to see Jesse Kriel meeting Danie Gerber for the first time. It was a great experience all round.”
Source: My Players