Schalk Burger has spoken about the viral image of him signing an autograph for Siya Kolisi when the Springbok captain was just a schoolboy.
Kolisi is set to win his 50th Springbok cap – 20th as captain – when he leads the team out in the World Cup final against England in Yokohama on Saturday. He will also be making history by becoming the first black African to lead the Boks in a final.
Through the build up to this weekend’s clash, a photo of former Bok flank Burger signing an autograph for Kolisi when the latter was still a pupil at Grey High has gone viral on social media.
— SA Rugby magazine (@SARugbymag) October 31, 2019
Burger said that while he doesn’t remember the exact moment, he still has fond memories of watching Kolisi develop into the leader he is today.
‘I’ve seen a lot of discussions on social media around the image of Siya waiting to get an autograph from me during a training session in PE,’ Burger said. ‘I don’t quite remember actually signing the autograph but we’ve had conversations about it over the years.
‘I remember working with him as his captain at the Stormers. He came in quite eager to learn and improve and understands that its what you put in that gets you great results. He was always a joy to work with and it’s amazing to see him become the leader he’s worked so hard to be, deservedly leading the team into rugby’s biggest match. There will be immense pressure on his shoulders, but I believe he’s a great captain, working with a great team, they’ve put in the work and will deliver.’
Burger said that he expects a ‘brutal’ game on Saturday, but backed the Boks to bring the Webb Ellis trophy home.
‘Historically speaking the Springboks have played very well against England and I think the Boks believe that they can beat them,’ Burger said. ‘We have a similar style of play, all game-line dominance, forward dominance and 10s and 9s who are the life and soul of the attack.
‘I think they’ll put a lot of pressure on our back three’s tactical awareness, they’ll try and expose us every time we play with them. Either through their kicking game or running game, it will be a battle of the set-piece and a physical pack. They have a monster team and so do we, this will be a brutal encounter.’
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