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Saracens flanker Burger inspired by Japan

Saracens flanker Burger inspired by Japan

Saracens flanker Jacques Burger is ready to take inspiration from Japan’s historic display at the weekend when he leads Namibia out against the reigning world champions.

Namibia are just two days away from kicking off their fifth World Cup but the Welwitschias are still on the hunt for their first ever point in the competition.

Tests don’t come much tougher than Thursday’s, when Burger will captain his country against New Zealand at the Olympic Stadium.

However, if they were to pick up a positive result against the All Blacks it wouldn’t be the first shock of the World Cup, following Japan’s last-gasp 34-32 victory over South Africa on Saturday.

And Burger, who has won two Aviva Premiership Rugby titles with Saracens, believes Namibia can take great belief from that result.

“It would be stupid not to be inspired by that,” said the 32-year-old. “Personally I didn't see it coming. It shows a lot can happen.

“Japan has changed the view with what the lesser nations can do. People will start believing. They have grown this belief now. We need to keep believing in ourselves.”

For New Zealand, Namibia represent arguably the simplest challenge of Pool C and head coach Steve Hansen may look to keep a handful of his big names fresh after beating Argentina last weekend.

But Burger is hoping to see fellow flanker Richie McCaw – All Blacks captain and all-time record international appearance holder – keep his place.

“To play against Richie McCaw would have been – or would be – a great experience, just because I have a lot of respect for the man and what he’s achieved in his career,” he added.

“He’s a special rugby player, and he’s done a lot for the game and for the All Blacks. To play against him would be a good experience.

“It's great to be up against the best. The excitement is through the roof with the boys. All the hard work has been done, we're very excited to get this match going.

“It's more about the performance. Realistically you can't look at the scoreline. If we win a match there would be some very excited people around the world. It's all about achieving special moments in the match.”

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