Schalk Brits was all smiles after joining the Springbok squad in Bloemfontein on Monday. Photo: @Springboks via Twitter

CAPE TOWN – In a surprise move by Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus on Monday, former Stormers hooker Schalk Brits has been added to the squad for the remaining two Tests against England.

The 37-year-old Brits, who has 10 Test caps and announced his retirement from rugby after completing the season with his English club Saracens recently, has already joined the Bok camp in Bloemfontein on Monday ahead of the second Test on Saturday at the Free State Stadium (5.05pm).

It is unclear if there may be any injury worries with the current hookers in the squad – Bongi Mbonambi, Akker van der Merwe and Chiliboy Ralepelle, although injured first-choice No 2 Malcolm Marx will be sidelined for a few more weeks.

But Erasmus explained in a statement that he wanted to lean on Brits’ experience of English players and conditions to assist the young players in the squad as a whole.

“We are busy with building experience, continuity and capacity towards the Rugby World Cup, so we want our young players rubbing shoulders with experienced players such as Duane, Vermeulen and Willie le Roux,” Erasmus said.

“I want Schalk to perform a similar role, because he has extensive inside knowledge and plenty of experience from playing for Saracens in the English and European conditions. It’s a great way for our younger guys to learn the trade of international rugby from these guys.”

The ever-smiling Brits has become somewhat of a cult figure for Saracens in the English Premiership over the last nine seasons, with his audacious skills and quick feet catching the eye. His last Test for the Boks was during the 2015 World Cup against the United States.

First game as a supporter. #Can’t wait

A post shared by schalkbrits (@schalkbrits) on

Brits was on holiday in Ibiza recently, and attended the 42-39 first Test victory at Ellis Park at the weekend as a spectator.

Erasmus will name his team for the second Test on Thursday, and said following the dramatic win at Ellis Park that he may reconsider certain combinations, especially the loose trio, where he felt England had the upperhand by employing two fetchers.

 

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