‘He tried to kill me’: The Bok legend Dan Carter called his toughest opponent
Across his 112 caps for the All Blacks, Dan Carter played against plenty of players that will go down as all time greats and some of the toughest players ever, but he believes none was tougher than legendary Springboks flanker Schalk Burger.
The two players’ careers almost perfectly aligned, with both making their debut in 2003 and both retiring after the 2015 World Cup. Carter even displaced Burger as the World Rugby Player of the Year in 2005. That meant the pair encountered each other a lot during their careers both on the international stage and in Super Rugby, although due to injury not as much as some would have liked. However, they certainly played enough for the 2007 World Cup winner to leave an impression on the legendary No10.
Then again, Burger left an impression on almost every fly-half he played against such was his ruthlessly aggressive style of play.
When asked about the toughest player he ever faced recently, the double World Cup winner replied: “Schalk Burger was the toughest opponent that I played against. He tried to kill me every time we played South Africa.”
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Carter’s sentiments are shared by his longtime teammate Jerome Kaino, who was Burger’s opposite man on many occasions.
“Schalk Burger would be the one at the top of my list,” Kaino said before when speaking to Jim Hamilton. “He’s someone that runs at you full tilt from the first minute to the 80th minute and he doesn’t stop. He doesn’t stop running, he doesn’t stop going and he’s one man that I have enormous respect for, not just for the way he plays but after the game he’s the first one to come up to you and hand you a beer and just have a chat with you after game. So I’d say that Schalk Burger is one player that definitely sticks out for me.