TOYOTA CITY – Schalk Brits was celebrating his retirement from rugby with cocktails in Ibiza when he received an SOS from South Africa coach Rassie Erasmus to be part of the Springboks build-up to the World Cup in Japan.
Sixteen months later and the hooker will not only captain the side in their Pool B clash against minnows Namibia at the City of Toyota Stadium on Saturday, but start the game at number eight, where he has not featured for more than a decade.
Erasmus was open with Brits about the fact that he would be the third-choice hooker in the squad, but wanted him on board for his experience, leadership qualities and versatility.
"When Rassie spoke to me I was sipping cocktails in Ibiza," Brits told reporters in Toyota City on Friday. "But he had a great vision for this team. When you consider where we were 18 months ago to where we are now, it has been an upward path."
Brits had already accepted a job at investment company Remgro following his decision to call it quits in May 2018, but has put that on hold to answer the call of the Boks and have another shot at a World Cup title having been part of the squad that finished third in 2015.