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Rugby World Cup: Battered Namibia captain Jacques Burger relishes big clash with New Zealand

By Staff Reporter

Namibia captain Jacques Burger will put his battered body through one last World Cup knowing that the majority of players will be carrying some form of injury.

The fearless Saracens flanker will face champions New Zealand, who won their opening match 26-16 against Argentina, at the Olympic Stadium scarred by an exhaustive list of surgeries including six operations to his right knee, two to his shoulders and two to his cheekbones.

Further injuries includes nerve damage to his neck, two popped ribs, a broken hand, a repeated finger, ankle ligament damage and a torn thigh muscle.

Pain is a constant companion but Burger, who was told he would never play again due to a problem affecting his kneecap, insists the discomfort will dissolve when his third World Cup begins tonight.

"I've not played many games over the last couple of years injury-free," Burger said.

"Most of the players at the World Cup will carry some sort of niggle, some will be serious.

"But over the last couple of years I've done really well. Two years ago I was told I wouldn't be able to play again or even run.

"But it's worth it. I'm in good shape and it's a blessing to be at a World Cup for a third time."

New Zealand captain Richie McCaw has been named on the bench and Burger hopes he will be brought on at some stage.

"Richie is an incredible player. I have so much respect for him and he's partly the reason I want to play," Burger said. "It's not a personal thing, more of an honour. I won't give him much respect though!"

Pool C: Olympic Park, London 8.00pm (ITV)

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