Schalk Burger was one of the greatest players in world rugby, and he is now quickly becoming one of the most astute broadcast pundits in the modern game, writes CRAIG LEWIS.
Not all former players make for great broadcasters or in-studio analysts.
There are a fair number of examples throughout world rugby where it seems that a player transitions into a commentary role after their career based largely on their reputation or ‘name’ in the game.
Sometimes, though, a true gem is found. Burger is one of those that SuperSport has uncovered.
The legendary former Springbok flank is widely regarded as one of the toughest players to have ever worn the green-and-gold jersey, but was renowned for his laidback demeanour off the field and prior to Test matches.
As a player, he was a man of many talents, capable of featuring across all three back-row positions, and was one of the most dynamic forwards to have graced the international game.
His 86 Test caps of experience, and an illustrious club career, have undoubtedly added to his astute understanding and game smarts that are now so abundantly evident as a broadcaster and pundit.
Just this past Saturday, Burger’s insights into the historic Springboks-All Blacks Test match were almost more compelling than some of the rugby itself.
In the same way that Burger was both laid back off the field and fiercely competitive when taking to the pitch as a player, his views on the game as a broadcaster are finely balanced.
His commentary on the game is assured and informative, with the 38-year-old offering perspectives that provide the viewer with unique insights without being overly complicated or convoluted.
Considering that Burger was still playing for the Springboks as recently as 2015, he has also expertly walked that fine line between remaining objective without becoming personal.
Nothing appears watered down when Burger shares his views, but the constructive criticism and problem-solving that he offers provide the viewer with a deeper understanding of the game’s intricacies.
It is evident that SuperSport is continuing to up their game when it comes to broadcast offerings, and there is no longer an over-reliance on someone like Nick Mallett, who still presents some excellent offerings, but increasingly in different capacities.
Also taking nothing away from several other SuperSport colleagues who have all transitioned successfully from player to pundit, but Burger just seems to be getting better and better as an analyst, and there is a good reason that more and more people seem to be tuning in to hear what he has to say.
💬 “Absolutely gutted! If we only had a little more attacking intent when we did put them under pressure, we would have won comfortably today.”
Schalk Burger on where he believes the Springboks lost the game against the All Blacks.
— SuperSport 🏆 (@SuperSportTV) September 25, 2021