Hooker Schalk Brits will play for the Barbarians at Twickenham later this year. Photo: Chris Ricco/BackpagePix

LONDON – Hooker Schalk Brits will play for the Barbarians at Twickenham six months after ‘retiring’ from the professional game as part of the playing programme designed to carry him through to the 2019 World Cup in Japan.

The Barbarians will be coached by Springbok mentor Rassie Erasmus.

The hooker was supposed to have hung up his boots after clinching a fourth Premiership crown with Saracens to go with two European Champions Cup victories.

Instead, the 37-year-old returned inside a month to win an 11th cap for South Africa acted as a mentor during the Rugby Championship and is lining up provincial rugby in South Africa as he plots a path to the World Cup.

A further step on the road will be the Killik Cup match for the Barbarians against Argentina on December 1, when the famous invitation side will be overseen by Erasmus. 

Schalk Brits pictured at the Springbok Experience at V&A Waterfront, Cape Town. Photo: Chris Ricco/BackpagePix
Schalk Brits pictured at the Springbok Experience at V&A Waterfront, Cape Town. Photo: Chris Ricco/BackpagePix

"I missed rugby so much I’ve changed my mind,” said Brits of his short-lived retirement. 

"I got a call from Rassie with reference to keep being involved until the next World Cup. After the June Tests, I still want to keep on playing and I’ve postponed work and my studies until after then. 

"A friend said to me recently, 'what’s the difference between being 37 and 38?' It’s a fantastic opportunity and an honour whenever you play for the Springboks so I’ll be trying to stay in contention.

“I’ve been staying on top of things and I’m in better nick that when I was playing. You get the chance to rehabilitate properly and I’m feeling fantastic and can’t wait to play again. I enjoyed playing against England at Newlands but we lost that Test so I hope the next time will bring a better result.”

Subscribe to the IOL Sport Newsletter!

Brits has a long association with the Barbarians dating back more than a decade to a famous 22-5 win over newly-crowned World Cup winners South Africa and including games against England, Ireland and the British & Irish Lions. Most recently he appeared alongside Thierry Dusautoir against England in 2017.

He will be part of another star-studded side in December with the likes of Handre Pollard, Will Genia and Eben Etzebeth already on board.  

African News Agency (ANA)


Like us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter