‘He’s an awesome team man’: Schalk Brits hailed by team-mates after reversing retirement decision to aid South Africa’s World Cup bid
- Schalk Brits’ South Africa team-mates have been praising the veteran’s impact
- Brits, 37, came out of a short-lived retirement to be a part of the World Cup plans
- Duane Vermeulen labelled the ‘hyperactive’ forward an ‘awesome team man’
- South Africa play England on Saturday as World Cup preparations continue
- The tournament takes place in Japan in next September and October
Veteran hooker Schalk Brits adds a vital feel-good factor to South Africa, according to team-mate Duane Vermeulen.
Back-rower Vermeulen hailed 37-year-old Brits’ remarkable U-turn on his summer retirement ahead of the Springboks’ clash with England at Twickenham on Saturday.
Brits called time on a glittering nine-year career at Saracens at the end of last term, insisting he was hanging up his boots for good.
Schalk Brits reversed his retirement decision – a move that’s gone down well with South Africa
But South Africa boss Rassie Erasmus has convinced him to reverse that call and push on towards the Rugby World Cup in 2019 – even though his call-up in June was his first for the Boks since the 2015 tournament.
Vermeulen believes the Springboks’ second-oldest player of all time still boasts his ‘hyperactive’ nature.
‘He’s an awesome team man, he just brings a different atmosphere and environment to the team,’ said Vermeulen.
Brits will be 38 when the World Cup starts
‘And I think sometimes when some guys aren’t selected, he’s the guy that really lifts the spirits.
‘And so for him saying he’s retiring and coming back again, it really speaks volumes, just to be a part of this.
‘If he plays or even if he doesn’t play, he’s a guy that brings a hell of a lot of energy to this team, and he knows a lot too. So he’s a great guy.
‘I don’t know how he does it – he’s hyperactive! I think at 37 he’s like the youngest guy in the squad. He’s a great, great guy.’
Brits will be 38 by the time South Africa kick-off their World Cup adventure in Japan next year, with an intimidating clash with back-to-back champions New Zealand first up in Yokohama.
A lot of rugby remains to be played between now and the start of next year’s tournament, with Saturday’s Test at Twickenham first up.
Malcolm Marx should start Saturday’s clash with England at hooker for the Boks, with Brits still in the running to feature in west London.
Marx has been impressed by Brits, who will play for Super Rugby outfit the Stormers next season as he ramps up his bid to feature in Japan.
‘That’s amazing in my opinion, what he’s doing,’ said Marx.
The veteran’s fellow Springboks have hailed the ‘hyperactive’ forward’s impact on the squad
‘Retiring and coming back and trying to get to the World Cup, that would be great.
‘He’s a great man, he talks to us and helps us a lot. So anything I can take from him and learn I will do.
‘He is unique, and that’s why he’s played here [in England] for so many years.’
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