MX23RW : Sunday, November 18 13:07:27

Bryan Habana heaps praise on "phenomenal" Schalk Burger

South Africa winger Bryan Habana pays tribute to Schalk Burger following the flanker's retirement from international rugby.

South Africa's record try scorer Bryan Habana has paid tribute to Schalk Burger following the back-row's retirement from international rugby.

Burger, who won the IRB World Player of the Year award in 2004 and was part of the Springboks' World Cup-winning squad three years later, hung up his boots following the 24-13 victory over Argentina in Friday's night's bronze-medal final.

The 32-year-old also overcame a career-threatening neck injury in 2006, and Habana was quick to praise the 86-cap flanker.

"Schalk Burger - I'm going to be very keen to see how his kids perform in 18 years because there is just something in his blood and in his body that is really special," he told Sports Mole.

"An unbelievable character both on and off the field. When I started out with the Springboks back in 2004, Jake White almost every team meeting couldn't stop talking about how many tackles Schalk made in a game. He'd be on the floor and suddenly he'd take three, four guys in the next ruck and next tackle.

"Schalk, having come back from a life-threatening moment, to be playing a level of rugby where this World Cup I think he's been phenomenal. For us as a team but also in terms of his leadership. His on-field ability has been phenomenal."

Burger's fellow Springbok stalwart Victor Matfield also retired after the match, prompting Habana to hail the pair as the greatest South African players of all time.


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Head coach Heyneke Meyer looks on during a South African Springboks training session at Hale School on September 2, 2014
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