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Burger: I'm a crazy man on pitch

Published 29/05/2015

Jacques Burger turns into the 'crazy man' when he plays
Jacques Burger turns into the 'crazy man' when he plays

Saracens flanker Jacques Burger will transform into the "crazy man" one final time this season when he faces Bath in Saturday's Aviva Premiership final.

Despite suffering from the bug that swept through the ranks before last weekend's play-off victory over Northampton, Burger was relentless as he chased down the champions in a man-of-the-match display.

The Namibian openside, the figurehead of Saracens' 'wolf-pack' mentality, insists he sheds the calm persona known to his family when he steps into the rugby arena.

"When I run on to the pitch, I change into somebody else. You forget about any niceness, about being friendly. It's time to do your job," he said.

"That's what we get paid to do and that's what I love doing. That ultimate man challenge is out there. If you're scared or not up for it, then you'll get found out and get bullied.

"I like that there's no more talking, there's nothing you can do except act. Nothing will help you out there. The physical part of it comes naturally.

"I think I'm quite fun off the pitch. I've got a lot of friends and two beautiful kids. You've got to be gentle and a human being off the field.

"I'm very chilled with my kids. Very soft. My little girl actually bullies me quite a lot!

"It's bizarre, but over the years I've been a bit of a crazy man when I'm playing."

Burger's hard-but-fair code of honour lapsed in April when he was guilty of a cheap shot on Racing Metro scrum-half Maxime Machenaud, resulting in a one-match ban.

"I've had moments in my rugby career where I've stepped out of line. In that incident, at that particular moment, I didn't think I was, but it was a clumsy challenge," Burger said.

"I don't want to be known as a dirty player, that has never been my point of rugby. I want to be a hard but fair player and give my best. Sometimes it boils over slightly.

"But you also have to make sure you don't get pushed around on the pitch. If someone's being niggly, don't just stand back and take it.

"Don't be dirty but make sure people know you're not going to be messed with."

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