The World Cup's hardest man?
Jacques Burger chuckles when I ask him to take me through his current list of injuries and ailments. "I've done my knee," says the Namibia captain and budding Saracens great. "I had a 'scope' on that the other day. I've got a bit of a dodgy elbow and I've got a couple of ankles that are a bit loose. But, all in all, nothing serious."
It is this sanguine attitude towards the kind of pain that would have most of us confined to bed enquiring after our mummies that has earned Burger a reputation as perhaps the hardest man in the English Premiership: Saracens' enforcer-in-chief and players' player of last season, the 28-year-old forward is the kind of man who would crawl over broken glass to triple-up on a tackle.
Possessing a battered head that points in a hundred different directions, if Picasso had painted Burger when the Spanish master was at his most surreal, the end result would have been a perfectly symmetrical representation of the ideal face.
"My wife thinks I'm good-looking," says Burger to another journalist, one who is far braver than I am.
Burger (far left) lines up with his team before the game against Fiji. Photo: Getty
Burger is the inspirational leader of the lowest-ranked side at the World Cup, a bull shark in a very small pond. But it was not pre-ordained to be this way. His is the story of how sheer hard work and bloody-mindedness can take someone from rugby's shallows and transplant them to the very heights of the game.
You might call Burger the patron saint of minnows.
"It's been a long, long road," says Burger, who, until 2004, was a sales rep in his native Windhoek. "After school, I played for Free State in South Africa before I was offered a contract with [Currie Cup side] the Griquas and then made it into the Namibian team.
"Luckily, I got the opportunity to play under [former Saracens head coach] Brendan Venter for an African Leopards team against the British Army. When my contract ended with [South African provincial giants] the Blue Bulls, it was at the same time as Saracens needed a back-up loose-forward. So that was that. Now England's my second home."
While to Burger's team-mates he is a legend in their midst, Burger's attitude towards them is no less reverential. "Most of them have got 8am-5pm jobs, just like I used to have, are training in the afternoons and before work in the morning. Some guys have quit their jobs to be here, some guys are on unpaid leave. That's absolute commitment."
On Wednesday, Burger's Namibia take on Samoa in a Pool D encounter in Rotorua, rich in Maori culture and boasting dramatic hot springs and geysers but a quieter nook of the World Cup festival nonetheless. At the lakeside hotel that is Namibia's base, players wander past and fix me with an expression that says "what could this bloke want with us?"
Indeed, Burger's only frustration is not the change from the ultra-professionalism set-up at Saracens, with whom he won the Premiership title last season, it is that some of his team-mates do not believe they should be here.
"When you leak so many points, you do get frustrated, but only because I believe all the guys in my team are really good players," says the unremitting open-side flanker. "Sometimes it feels like they don't know how good they are. We can compete against the best but we don't - and that gets to me sometimes.
"There was a temptation in the past to try to do too much, try to do things out of the ordinary, and I've had to tell myself, 'that's not the way I play'. So you won't see me dropping back into the pocket and trying for the odd drop-goal. I've just got to do my job, pick up the guys and inspire them.
"If I don't play well as the captain, who are the guys going to look up to?"
Namibia came into this World Cup having conceded an average of 64 points per game, so their 49-25 defeat by Fiji last Saturday was at least a step in the right direction. That said, with Samoa, South Africa and Wales to come in the space of 12 days, that average could easily be maintained.
Burger is hit by Viliame Veikoso of Fiji. Photo: Getty
But Burger senses the less established sides are closing the gap, in large part because the professionalism he and others have learnt from some of the most knowledgeable coaches in the world is being ploughed into the lower reaches of the game.
"That's why the gap is narrowing, because lots of guys from the smaller nations are playing for professional sides now and putting some of their knowledge back," says Burger. "There are still a lot of financial things that need to be sorted out for the smaller nations to get where they want to be but it's going in the right direction.
"I've said to a few guys that it's amazing how your world can change in four matches at a World Cup. You saw how our fly-half [Theuns Kotze, who scored three drop-goals] did against Fiji. Doors could open for him. Hopefully, he'll get scooped up and he can put what he learns back into the national team."
When we shake hands at the conclusion of the interview, Burger comes over all bashful and says: "Thanks for all the nice things you've said about me." Lovely man. Unless you are an opposition fly-half, in which case he is wickedness personified.