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Burger urges England: Face Namibia

Saracens flanker Jacques Burger has called on England to arrange midweek fixtures against Namibia during their three-Test summer tour of South Africa in 2012.

England are expected to travel with around 45 players and play at least two tour matches in between the Tests against the Springboks. Last year, England played the Australian Barbarians twice and the New Zealand Maori in similar fixtures during their summer tour.

Burger, who captained Namibia at the World Cup, explained his country is starved of top class opposition and would relish the chance to face an England midweek side next June, and he told Press Association Sport: "I would love that. We want more games, more professional games and we want to get better."

He added: "We are not growing as big as we want to because we only play four big Tests between World Cups - and that is at the World Cup!

"We will lose but losing is part of learning and we need more opportunities and that would be great (if England came to Namibia).

"It is just an hour and a half flight. It would be great if they could do something. Hopefully that is something in the pipeline in the future."

A return to the traditional tour format is part of the International Rugby Board's 10-year fixture schedule, designed in part to assist the development of tier-two nations such as Namibia.

England tackle the Springboks on June 9 at King's Park, Durban, a week later in Johannesburg with the third Test on June 23 in Port Elizabeth.

The midweek games would likely be arranged between the first and second Tests. England play the Barbarians before they leave for South Africa on May 27.

There have also been talks about a possible game between England and a Premiership XV, to be staged at Bolton's Reebok Stadium, on May 30.


From Belfast Telegraph