Venter: Brits best ever

2011-06-29 22:28

Stephen Nell

Cape Town - In England, the Saracens supporters tell Chuck Norris jokes about Schalk Brits, but the club side's coaching consultant Brendan Venter is dead serious when he says that the Stormers have the best rugby player he has ever coached on their substitutes bench this week.

Brits was on Wednesday picked as back-up loose forward for the Super Rugby semi-final against the Crusaders and it is expected that he will feature for about half an hour in the Cape side's No 19 jersey at Newlands on Saturday.

However, it's on the basis of approximately 70 games for Saracens that Venter bases his view that Brits could still play an important role for the Springboks going forward. That's if - like the Stormers - they are prepared to think outside the box about the matter.

"Schalk is the best player I have ever coached," said Venter.

"I recall when Chester Williams still coached the Cats how I once went to conduct a defensive session in Johannesburg and worked with him for the first time.

"When I got home that evening, I told my wife that I had just worked with one of the most talented individuals I had ever come across. He can do everything - and he's a hooker!"

However, this week Brits is a loose forward for the Stormers and there are people who believe that he's actually an outside centre.

In South Africa that was one of the reasons for some people not taking to Brits, but Venter believes it's precisely what could make him a terrific wild card.

"I realise that John Smit has already been appointed captain for the World Cup and that Bismarck du Plessis is probably the best Test hooker in the world. However, you don't need to necessarily consider Schalk simply as a hooker," said Venter.

"If you look at the preliminary squad for the World Cup, it's clear that security was the guiding principle. I think we need a few wild cards. Patrick Lambie can be one at fullback and Schalk is able to provide that x-factor off the bench that no-one can coach."

When Brits's name was raised in a recent discussion with Bok coach Peter de Villiers, he countered it with a question: in which one of Smit, Du Plessis, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Bandise Maku and Adriaan Strauss's place should he be picked?

However, Venter does not believe that he should necessarily be competing directly with those players.

"Schalk offers something completely unique. No other hooker in South Africa - or the world - has his skills set.

"When you come across really talented players you often encounter that their work-rate is not high enough or that they look to avoid contact. Schalk brings a huge work-rate as part of the package.

"He is able to cover more than one position off the bench. You could gain a competitive advantage as it offers you scope to pick two reserve props."

What then about all the negative perceptions that Brits is not accurate enough in the set phases.

"That perception has been disproved at Saracens," said Venter.

"Schalk did really well in our live scrumming sessions at Saracens and we never struggled in the scrums. Our accuracy in the lineouts was also the best in the Premiership.

"Remember also that hookers mature with age. Schalk is no longer playing the way he did when he was 23 and wanted to attack from everywhere. He is now 30.

"Schalk has become a legend at Saracens in two years. They tell Chuck Norris jokes about him. The question is what he cannot do."   


15 Conrad Jantjes, 14 Gio Aplon, 13 Jaque Fourie, 12 Jean de Villiers, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Peter Grant, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Nick Koster, 7 Francois Louw, 6 Schalk Burger (captain), 5 Andries Bekker, 4 Rynhardt Elstadt, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Tiaan Liebenberg, 1 Wicus Blaauw

Substitutes: 16 Deon Fourie, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Anton van Zyl, 19 Schalk Brits, 20 Louis Schreuder, 21 Juan de Jongh, 22 Johann Sadie

15 Tom Marshall, 14 Sean Maitland, 13 Robbie Fruean, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Zac Guildford, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (captain), 6 George Whitelock, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brad Thorn, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Wyatt Crockett

Substitutes: 16 Quentin MacDonald, 17 Ben Franks, 18 Luke Romano, 19 Matt Todd, 20 Kahn Foutali'i, 21 Matt Berquist, 22 Ryan Crotty


  • Rawter - 2011-06-29 23:12

    thats an idea!! If Fourie is out just put Britz at centre so he can also run over SBW like Juan De Villiers will. BWAHAHA

      BardofAvon - 2011-06-30 05:34

      What is your point exactly?

      Francois - 2011-06-30 06:45

      WPBefonk, jy gee ander mense van die WP 'n slegte naam met jou myntaal. Kan jy asseblief bietjie respek betoon?

      WPBEFONK - 2011-06-30 07:45

      @Francois- Sorry , maar die Blou Bul manne maak my KWAAD. Ek's jammer!!!!!

      Dan - 2011-06-30 08:51

      WPBEFONK. Waarom altyd die Bulle inbring by julle praatjies. Het die Bulle werklik so 'n geweldige sielkundundige houvas oor julle in die Kaap? Word groot mannetjie, ons praat oor Brits, nie die damn Bulle nie jou idioot. Ek dink nogal jou naam pas goed by jou. Anders as jou tipe, ondersteun ek die Stormers 100% Saterdag, al is ek 'n Bul. Eendag sal outjies soos jy dalk grootword en tekens van sportmanskap begin toon. Ongelukkig is dit deel van 'n mens se opvoeding, so miskien is daar nie hoop vir jou nie.

      firefighter - 2011-06-30 08:53

      @WPBEF*&^. Jou taalgebruik is beslis nie Myntaal nie - eerder Toilettaal. Enigsins n aanduiding van jou geboorteplek?

      BlouBos - 2011-06-30 11:02

      Stam saam met Dan. En onthou WPBEFONK. Die Bulle het net die seisoen verloor en kan volgende jaar weer probeer, maar as die Stormers verloor dan moet hulle 'n hele eeu wag om weer so ‘n geleentheid te kry.

  • GrahamB - 2011-06-29 23:25

    I have always rated Chuck Brits, he has matured into an exceptional player.

      WPBEFONK - 2011-06-30 06:16

      Indeed Schalk is a great player, probably the 2nd BEST SA hooker on current form. Stormers 25 - Crusaders 16, period!!!!

      Frik - 2011-06-30 08:59

      @WP is jy die beste hooker?

      Legend77 - 2011-06-30 09:02

      CRUSADERS 23 WP 13, FACT!!!!

  • mike - 2011-06-29 23:33

    The question remains though, where would you play him. I for one wouldn't pick him ahead of Biz, Smith, Chilli or Strauss... so what should we drop Jaque or maybe Schalk, I think not!

      thames - 2011-06-30 00:20

      Sorry mate but if you rate Chilli ahead of Britz then you need to brush up on your rugby knowledge. Chilli is a fourth rate player with political connections and Britz is absolutely brilliant and capable of playing in any conditions.

      Neilson - 2011-06-30 00:39

      In the Stormers team, I will play him at Fly Half, the Stormers need someone that can make decisions in the back line. No joke, he is most likely better than Grant... then again, who is not better than Grant?

      Karoobloed - 2011-06-30 00:55

      Easy, pick him ahead of Smit who would be best employed as Team Manager cum spokesperson for PdV.

      mike - 2011-06-30 01:23

      Sorry Thames when it comes to picking hookers I do rate Chilli above him. He is not a hooker, his style of play does not comply with the Boks game plan and Saries have adapted there game around him. I really don't see our Bok team changing there play style just so we can select Britz. I don't rate Brits ahead of almost all the top flight hookers currently playing in SA.

      firefighter - 2011-06-30 03:03

      You clearly have a limited knowledge of the Game. It is because of Politics that he has been left out in the cold. How on earth can you rate Chilliboy to be Worl Class?

      Karoobloed - 2011-06-30 04:24

      Disagree - Chilli had a relatively injury free season thus far, that allowed him to take his game to the next level. He is a good man and certainly a few notches above John Smit,

      Mike@CapeT - 2011-06-30 07:16

      Mike, you have your blue blinkers on. In my books, Chilliboy is tops and is the best Bulls hooker on current form however, your comments on Britz are so dismissive of the player that I regard you as being pretty ignorent. Take off your blinkers, Britz is a very special player and I, for one, hope he is snapped up by the Stormers for next year, if he is available. PdV will also be an idiot (but we already know that) if he does not include him in his squad.

      Hein - 2011-06-30 07:42

      Why turn this into a RACIAL issue again??????? Obviously all that you see when Chilliboy is on the pitch is that he is BLACK and you forget to watch how he plays. Please grow up and judge players on merits ONLY and not on skin color. Purely based on performance, Chilliboy is now our top hooker with Biz a very close second - taking into consideration the number of infringements and bad throwing ins at lineouts as well.

      MB1810 - 2011-06-30 11:25

      Chilliboy has really been good in the loose in this years S15, but I don't think he is more than average come lineout time - and lets face it, for a hooker, that is what counts. I think I could pick Brits ahead of John Smit, Chilliboy and Strauss.

      Makutu - 2011-06-30 11:46

      I Agree. Chilliboy has been playing well. I wouldn't rate him as the best. I'd rate him on the same level with Deon Fourie who is also playing superb rugby. Adriaan Struass is a brilliant Hooker who can be considered unlucky, not too far off. But all these players are better than Schalck Brits in my opinion. Guys, why is this thing now turning into a racial thing? What's next, people will now be saying that Lwazi Mvovo is not a good winger and he is selected because of his skin colour? Come on guys!!!! GROW the F*** UP! This is 2011 for Buddah's sake.

      kosie - 2011-06-30 13:24

      @ makutu: nobody turned this into race, you and Hein did.

      Dirtyharry - 2011-06-30 21:52

      Chilly "Boy" my ass he should not even be on the bench how can you even compare him with Brits?

  • Makutu - 2011-06-29 23:34

    I wonder who this Brits guy pays to get this much publicity...

      firefighter - 2011-06-30 03:04

      You A$%H*&%! You have just proven how much you know about Rugby!

      bostik - 2011-06-30 07:46

      hahah shame... really poor comment!

      Andrew - 2011-06-30 08:47

      The same guy that Malema pays.

      Rob van den Heuvel - 2011-06-30 09:37

      @Makutu - if you knew anything about rugby or if you'd ever seen him play you'd know that he does not have to pay anyone to get a mention, he is a great talent!

      Makutu - 2011-06-30 11:47

      I know enough about rugby, believe you me. But I am willing to learn more!

      kosie - 2011-06-30 13:26

      then you should start watching northern hemisphere rugby, so you can learn more.

  • No1Dutchman - 2011-06-29 23:48

    Watch this link on Schalk Brits and this is how he always plays. Thank you to Rugbydump for this great footage. I watch him week after week, He can run, kick,tackle and reads the game well.

      mike - 2011-06-30 01:28

      Yes I also watched allot of Saries this year and he was all over the park. Just a pitty he wasn't actually fulfilling his primary job!

      Mike@CapeT - 2011-06-30 07:35

      Come on.....he makes SBW look like a chump (not a champ)!

      NV - 2011-06-30 07:55

      Thanks for the link. That offload that tackle was brilliant!!

  • Douglas - 2011-06-30 00:44

    If Brendan Venter says he's the best man he's ever coached, that has to mean something in my book.

      kosie - 2011-06-30 13:29

      venter is starting to make a good name for himself (not talking about the british press though), everything he has to say lately is very constructive and quite intelligent.

  • Kevan - 2011-06-30 03:02

    where this guy learn to play rugby?

      Rob van den Heuvel - 2011-06-30 09:39

      He grew up in the Cape but WP did not recognize his raw potential and ability. The first big franchise to sign him were the Lions ( then Tvl ), if memory serves he played a season or two there before he went abroad (UK ). Great to see him back in SA.

      Raka13 - 2011-06-30 11:26

      He is from Paul Roos Gimnasium and Stellenbosch University. WP and SA schools representative. He played for WP and Stormers aswell as the Lions.

      WeZo - 2011-06-30 11:34

      @ Rob, what u mean WP did not recognise him? 4 seasons at Stormers!!!!

  • Koos - 2011-06-30 03:09

    Saw him in a Sacasens semi final. All I can say is what a boytjie!!! He was everywhere.

  • George - 2011-06-30 04:00

    I have watched Britz for more than two years playing for Saracens, he is the best hooker South Africa has for the world cup. Burger from Namibia plays at flank in the same team. South Africa would be proud to have him on the field as well.

      Janos - 2011-06-30 10:19

      Agreed George..........England rugby is all about front row domination and boy does Brits dominate......he is really pops up everywhere........thats why I believe he needs to be taken to RWC and used as a duracell the rest of the team travel on tired legs........can't believe Jon Smit can go the distance......

  • Glennm - 2011-06-30 05:36

    Two of the worlds best hookers in action this week....Fourie and Brits....but they will be ignored for higher honours. Div cannot see past his snor and nose....

  • BardofAvon - 2011-06-30 05:39

    All the comments here (well, almost all) seem to have merit. The trouble with overseas players is that it's hard to assess them accurately for local and international conditions, until they have teamed up with the squad.And even they take time to bed in and acclimatize. Difficult.

      Kleinboet - 2011-06-30 23:09

      Excuse me, but Brits proved himself over and over locally before he went overseas because he was ignored by the powers that be. He knew he would not be picked for the Boks because of the Bok selectors' short-sightedness and left for the better money overseas. I remember there was a huge outcry because nothing was done to keep him in the RSA. We in South Africa have an out of date idea of what a hookers job is; that is why an excellent hooker like Fourie is not picked no matterhow good he plays. I'll tell you why John Smit is no longer a good captain: He is so slow now-a-days that when he gets to the maul or loose scrum, the play has moved on and nobody can benifit from his knowledge and captaincy any more. Leave him at home and pick Brits for the tri-nations and RWC.

  • Mikus - 2011-06-30 05:42

    Schalk Brits is a uniquely gifted athlete however.........front rankers in the "modern" game are all considerably bigger than he is - picture Brits with an added 20kg bulk and 8 inches in height and you would have a Fijian with a rugby brain - wow! Sadly with his physique he is always going to be cursed with the "spectacular utility player" badge. Then again, how about this for an idea - Brits at scrumhalf......

      EderickC - 2011-06-30 07:29

      Well,for a guy who weighs 20 odd kilos lighter,as you mentioned.....have you seen the hits he made in the league for Saracens??

      navarac - 2011-06-30 07:33

      He'd have to go to the Sharks for that!

      Mikus - 2011-06-30 08:27

      Edrick - 100%, the guy is phenomenal and the hits he makes are fearless. Problem is though is that he's like the Brent Russell of the forwards. The addition to his size I suggested may be a tad overstated but I believe he'll always be the bridesmaid with regard to selection at either hooker of loose forward.

      Mikus - 2011-06-30 09:32

      seems I'm due an apology here - just checked Schalk's stats on the Sarries website - they say he weighs in at 100kg - ok, I'm sorry. The thing is I had a chat with him a while back when he was with the Stormers and at that time he struck me as small for a front ranker - obviously English cooking agrees with him - go get 'em Schalkie!

      Kleinboet - 2011-06-30 23:18

      I remember the same was said about Jan Boland Coetzee. 'Too small', they said. And then he was picked and turned out to be one of the best flankers ever. It is not so much a matter of how much dog there is in the fight, but rather how much fight there is in the dog. There is a lot of fight in Brits. Besides, he is inexhaustable and will give 100% for 80 minutes, whereas the so-called 'big' hookers stop playing after 50 minutes and need replacement after 60.

  • JJRR - 2011-06-30 07:43

    Klink soos n marketing ploy vir die Wie Pie. Hy het nognie eers uitgeraf op die veld nie en nou is hy die beste!

      Hannes van der Linde - 2011-06-30 08:21

      Het jy enigsins oorsese rugby gekyk? Of kyk jy net as die bulle speel?

  • White Boy - 2011-06-30 08:12

    How many and for how long has Venter been coaching ????

      Hannes van der Linde - 2011-06-30 08:20

      Google it

      Rob van den Heuvel - 2011-06-30 09:42

      Long enough, turned Sarries around....

      Laserguided - 2011-07-01 08:19

      @ Whiteboy: Good point. He's probably only coached one team with 20 players.

  • Dan - 2011-06-30 08:45

    Well Brendan, you haven't really coached many players have you. He might be the "best rugby player" in your eyes, but certainly not the best hooker. The problem with some of these "brilliant" natural players is that they don't really fit in any specific position. Just maybe "impact player" is their best position. With Brits in the front row of the Boks, even Japan might scrum us.

      Manus - 2011-06-30 09:36

      Soos Hannes van der Linde sê: Google dit - Brendan het deur die jare ‘n groot aantal spelers afgerig. Kom ons probeer ten minste regverdig wees: Brits mag nie die grootste haker wees nie, maar anders as wat @Mike hierbo sê, doen hy die basiese dinge goed, want hy maak dit as skrumwerker in die noordelike halfrond, waar daar baie klem daarop geplaas word én hy is akkuraat by die lynstane. Ek stem egter met jou saam dat hy as ‘n impakspeler gebruik behoort te word, want hy kan vir jou skielik iets ekstra gee na 40+ minute.

      Dan - 2011-06-30 18:03

      @ MAnus. Dit is wat ek probeer sê - hy is 'b blêrrie goeie speler, maae ek dink nie hy is onder ons 3 beste hakers nie. Miskien die beste impakspeler na Danie Rossouw. My opinie is dat hy in Europe tussen 2 goeie stutte gespeel het, want hy is verseker nie 'n faktor in die skrum nie. Indien die Bokke 2 uitsonderlike stutte gehad het, was dit 'n heel ander storie - maar ons het nie. Ek dink nie enige ou sal kla as hy die span haal nie, maar ons weet mos hy gaan nie die span haal nie.

  • jk - 2011-06-30 09:15

    schalk was born 10 years to early, wrong time right place

  • Janos - 2011-06-30 10:02

    Good article ............always wondered why Britz Brits was allowed to leave.......but sometimes England brings the edge out of certain SA players..............does Monti come to mind. I feel the SB are heading to RWC under strength with fatigued and physically challenged players.....Brits could be the impact player to energise the surge......!!!!

  • Deon - 2011-06-30 10:03

    @Kevan : To answer your question about where this guy learnt to play rugby : Paul Roos Gymnasium, Stellenbosch, coached by Henk Genade and Jacques Hanekom. That, according to himself played an important part.

      Gert Konsert - 2011-06-30 14:24

      Jaques Hanekom have been involved with WP Rugby institute for the past few years after coaching Paul Roos - No wonder they are producing super talented youngsters such as De Jongh, Hougaard, Dippenaar, Sadie, Koster, Elstadt, Kitshoff and many more....

  • sonnyg - 2011-06-30 11:53

    Schalk Brits biggest mistake is that he picked the wrong position to play.

  • Charles - 2011-06-30 12:13

    Hys 'n baie goeie speler, seker met een van die meeste talent on die SA spleres. Net jammer in Suid -Afrika si talent nie prioriteit nie maar eerder reputasie! Kyk maar na Tiaan Strauss uitstekende speler maarwas nooit erken in sy eie land.

  • kosie - 2011-06-30 13:22

    i will put him ahead of john smit, chili,maku... i would also put gary botha and tiaan liebenberg ahead of them...

  • loverugby - 2011-06-30 21:38

    As Schalk Brits werklik so 'n goeie speler was hoekom het die WP hom nie probeer hou nie? Hoekom het ander provinsies ook nie sy wonderlike talente raak gesien nie? Die standaard van rugby in Engeland is swak. Brendan Alleswetend Venter kon nie 'n Matie koshuis span suksesvol afrig nie maar by Saracens kry hy dit kwansuis reg. Soos wat rugby kenner Venter beskryf het Schalk Brits menige spelers in Europa vernietig. Glo my hy droom of snuif iets. Daai man kan nie skrum nie. Met twee groot stutte miskien maar ek weet nie. Hy sidestep ook net na eenkant toe wat hom beperk op baie gebiede. Lekker droom Brendan. Tussen Saracens en Matie koshuis span het jy nog nie veel spelers onder jou deur nie.

  • Mike@CapeT - 2011-07-01 02:56

    Venter wanted to say Brits is the best spyker he's ever had.

  • unratedexter - 2011-07-01 07:22


  • Laserguided - 2011-07-01 08:17

    I can't believe this guy: He doesn't want anything to do with SA rugby but when the Stormbarians reach the semis without him, only then he wants to come back and get involved. Jake White was right: He isn't good enough and it showed against his last test some years ago against Oz.

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