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Brits eager to add value to Boks

2015-09-11 10:03
Schalk Brits (Gallo Images)

Johannesburg - He may not be a spring chicken, but Springbok hooker Schalk Brits considers himself as one of the youngsters going to his maiden Rugby World Cup.

Seven years since making his Springbok debut, the 34-year-old only boasts eight Test caps but his perseverance has finally paid off.

“Although I am one of the older guys in the squad I do bring the excitement of a 20-year-old, and I enjoy it,” Brits said on the eve of the Springbok squad's departure for the Rugby World Cup in England.

“Sometimes people can get stressed in an environment like this where there is a lot of pressure to perform week in and week out.”

“In the week when the squad was cut to 31 players, I had a chat to Heyneke (Meyer, Bok coach) and I was over the moon that I was going to be part of a World Cup.”

Blessed with a skill-set second to none Brits, who is equally capable in doing the basics right, has always been the third-choice in the Springbok pecking order.

While it is difficult to imagine the friendly hooker down in the dumps, Brits admits he nearly lost hope of ever representing his country at a World Cup.

“Since quite an early age I had that outlook, so I got disappointed quite a lot by not playing or the Springboks,” Brits said.

“My outlook has always been just to enjoy the game but when 2011 came and went I thought that would be my last chance.

“I can’t wait to be part of a World Cup and have my input in a fantastic team like the Springboks.”

Brits’ move to Saracens in 2009 did not aid his international ambitions but his consistent performances in the Northern Hemisphere did not go unnoticed.

Meyer resuscitated Brits’ Springbok career when he called the free-running hooker into his end-of-year-tour squad at the end of 2012.

While Brits may be considered as one of the fringe players, he believes he can add value in other aspects within the squad.

“I know the conditions quite well, I know the Northern Hemisphere players, it is a different way of playing,” he said.

“I am always that guy that brings a bit of fun to the party and even in game situation like when we were playing Argentina away from home, I was loving it trying to lighten the mood.

“I don’t look at it as a first, second or third choice, when I get the opportunity I will use it to the best of my ability.”

Brits will be travelling back to his adopted home with the intention of returning the Webb Ellis Cup to South Africa.

“There is an air of confidence in the squad, but you need that, it hasn’t gone well in the Rugby Championship but we’ve trained so hard and the focus has always been the World Cup,” Brits said.

“We’ve got the talent but the players need to execute the game plan, I definitely see us going to the final and lifting that Cup.”


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