Saracens legend Schalk Brits has come out of retirement to relight his rugby career, and has his hopes firmly pinned on making South Africa’s 2019 Rugby World Cup squad.
The 37-year-old announced his retirement from all rugby after lifting a fourth Premiership crown last season, but then received a phone call from Springboks head coach Rassie Erasmus where he was told he still had a part to play in the rebuilding of the Boks.
Having represented South Africa in the June Test series against England and mentored first-choice hooker Malcolm Marx, Brits appears to have dispelled his retirement by making himself available to play for the Barbarians against Argentina in the Killik Cup while also revealing he has put the brakes his off-the-field career until after next year’s World Cup.
“I missed rugby so much I’ve changed my mind,” Brits said.
“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.”
Erasmus is blessed with a plethora of hookers vying for a World Cup spot, with Malcolm Marx a guarantee, Brits’ experience is rivalled by Bismarck du Plessis, who last week revealed he harbours hopes making the plane to Japan.