Schalk Burger, George Whitelock heading to Japan
June 4, 2014
Schalk Burger is free to play for the Stormers in the 2015 Super Rugby season © Getty Images
Burger is reported in South Africa to have signed a two-year contract to play with the three-time Top League champions, the deal allowing him to return to South Africa in the Japanese off-season to play Super Rugby for the Stormers.
"I am looking forward to playing for Suntory Goliath," Burger said in a Japanese-language statement on the club's website. "It is a great honour for me to play with Fourie du Preez and many other standouts at the wonderful team, and to play in Japan where enthusiasm for rugby is rising ahead of the 2019 World Cup which it will host."
Whitelock, meanwhile, is joining recently appointed former Crusaders and Wallabies coach Robbie Deans at the Wild Knights, who also have Highlanders scrum-half Fumiaki Tanaka and ex-Wallabies five-eighth Berrick Barnes on their roster.
Whitelock, who won one Test cap as a replacement against Italy in 2009, has played for the Crusaders since Deans selected him in 2008, and he started all 18 matches of their Super Rugby matches last season before captaining Canterbury to their sixth consecutive ITM Cup title. But he has not started a Super Rugby match since April 19, with Richie McCaw, Matt Tood, Kieran Read, Jordan Taufua and younger brother Luke all ahead of him in the Crusaders' pecking order.
George Whitelock has served the Crusaders since 2008 © Getty Images
He is the fourth Crusaders player to announce they are leaving after the Super Rugby campaign, after hooker Corey Flynn (Toulouse), Tyler Bleyendaal (Munster) and Zac Guildford (Clermont).
Andre Taylor, Mils Muliaina, Jackson Willison, Bundee Aki, Alipati Leuia, Chris Noakes, Jack Lam, Jarrad Hoeata and Tom McCartney are other New Zealand Super Rugby players to have signed a deal to move overseas after the season.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
Ireland have the world sitting up and taking notice - and rugby's structure in Europe will aid their Rugby World Cup bid, writes John Mitchell
Where does Italy's win over Scotland rank among their successes in the Six Nations? Scrum Sevens investigates
The tone was set early on in Dublin as a more clinical Ireland made England pay. All is not lost, however, argues Phil Vickery
Monday Maul takes in retirement talk, England reshuffles, France's unfair advantage and Scotland's communication breakdown