PRETORIA – Not too many of the Bulls players will admit to it but most, if not all, of them have had to swallow that word of endearment 'oom' when talking to their new teammate Schalk Brits.
But then Brits deserves to be called 'oom' just out of respect for what he has been able to achieve in the game since turning pro in 1999. And after so many years playing rugby abroad Brits feels a sense of responsibility to give back to the game and more so South African rugby.
As much as his return to the game was forced by Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus, who enticed Brits with the possibility of attending his second Rugby World Cup later this year in Japan, the former Golden Lions and Western Province hooker believes that it is important for him to share his knowledge with the younger players.
“Unfortunately, we lose intellectual capital early with players. Hopefully, my goal is to not only play but to also transfer some of my knowledge over to the (younger players) and hopefully help them grow rather fast,” Brits said.
“I think there is a tendency in South Africa that if a player has three or four years in Super Rugby, then the impression from the public and media is that he is over the hill. Because we have such a young fountain of talent that is up and coming this happens. But we forget that through time you need stable players to help other players shine. So, in that way we definitely lose way too much experienced talent overseas.
“That is why it is a pity we have more than 300 players playing overseas. We have other problems as well but that is one of the problems that we have in SA Rugby. We lose way too many players.”
Brits is hopeful that he can add value at the Bulls not only as a player but as a mentor along with another acquisition and Springbok in eighthman Duane Vermeulen.
“What is nice is that we have a young bunch of players and a group of experienced heads that has been around the block a little bit that can help the younger players exponentially as quickly as they can ... Unfortunately, we don’t have a lot of time and we will grow during the season and during the competition but we are very excited at what we can achieve.
Everyone looks at results, but we want to grow as a team and have a great work ethic,” said Brits.@Vata_Ngobeni