Cape Town - Bulls hooker Schalk Brits has made a superb start to Super Rugby 2019, but Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus is not getting carried away.
Lured out of retirement in 2018, Brits put pen to paper with the Bulls ahead of this year's tournament and is looking to get through the campaign to prove to Erasmus that he can be entrusted with going to the Rugby World Cup in Japan in September.
Brits is very much in the World Cup mix, with the Bok coach valuing his experience and leadership qualities.
The 37-year-old still needs to show that he deserves to be in the squad on ability alone, though, and he went a long way towards showing that he still has what it takes by putting in a massive performance in last weekend's 30-12 win over the Lions at Loftus.
Erasmus, though, knows there is still a long season ahead.
"I really think what Schalk brings to the party is a
lot of mentorship for other players. When he does well it is great, but it is
the third game of Super Rugby," the coach said this week.
"He is an old guy and there will be questions
over whether the body can hold up. They (Bulls) have a lot of tough matches and they
will have to manage him well.
"Akker (Van der Merwe) has done really well, so it's nice to have four
hookers in contention and all of them are playing well."
The Bulls take on the Sharks at Loftus on Saturday.
Kick-off is at 17:15.
15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Dylan Sage, 11 Rosko Specman, 10 Handre Pollard (captain), 9 Ivan van Zyl 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Tim Agaba, 6 Jannes Kirsten, 5 Jason Jenkins, 4 Hanro Liebenberg, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Lizo Gqoboka
Substitutes: 16 Corniel Els, 17 Simphiwe Matanzima, 18 Dayan van der Westhuizen, 19 Thembelani Bholi, 20 Paul Schoeman, 21 Embrose Papier, 22 Manie Libbok, 23 Divan Rossouw
15 Rhyno Smith, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13. Lukhanyo Am, 12 Jeremy Ward, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10.Robert du Preez, 9 Louis Schreuder (captain), 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Jacques Vermeulen, 6 Wian Vosloo, 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 Gideon Koegelenberg, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Akker van der Merwe, 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16 Fezokhule ‘Fez’ Mbatha, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 Thomas du Toit, 19 Ruben van Heerden, 20 Phepsi Buthelezi, 21 Grant Williams, 22 Andre Esterhuizen, 23 Curwin Bosch