Saracens have confirmed veteran flanker Schalk Burger will leave the club at the end of the season to return to his native South Africa.
The 35-year-old joined the Premiership champions in 2016 but has decided to move with his family back to Cape Town, having represented the Stormers between 2003-2014.
Holding off on declaring whether he will continue his playing career or opt to retire, Burger stated his gratitude to Saracens for giving him great memories to remember.
“I’m going to leave Saracens a happy man,” the former Springbok told the Saracens club website. “I’ve made great friends here and that’s pretty much the standout feature.
“The way we go about enjoying rugby, enjoying spending time together, the trips I’ve had with the team and we’ve won a couple of trophies since I’ve been here too so I have a lot of great memories.
“In rugby you go through phases where you play well and don’t play well, but at the end of the day that’s the by-product. What you care about is the quality of the human and the quality of time we’ve spent together as a club.
“I’d like to say a massive thank you to everyone for taking not only me in but my whole family. We’ve had a lot of success on the field but what stands out is the friendships I’ve made off the field so a massive thank you to everyone involved.”
Director of rugby, Mark McCall added: “It has been a privilege to have Schalk at Saracens.
“He embodies many of the values we hold dear; competing in every moment, being a great team-mate, leaving the club in a better place than you found it.
“We have all learned a great deal from one of rugby’s truly great players. We wish him and his family every success in the future.”
Burger’s prestigious career has seen him win 86 caps for South Africa, winning the World Cup in 2007, and being named the World Player of the Year in 2004.
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