Schalk Brits has one more game left in him
SPOTLIGHT: Twenty-four hours after announcing his retirement for a second time, World Cup winner Schalk Brits said that has isn’t completely finished with rugby just yet.
Not only is he set to hook up with the Barbarians for their upcoming matches versus Brazil and Wales, but he will also attempt to play for Cambridge in the 2020 varsity match against Oxford at Twickenham.
“Yes, I will come out of retirement for the final time for the Barbarians,” the 38-year-old said in an interview with RugbyPass, before confirming that his plan to start an executive MBA course at Cambridge University, who will feature former Wallaby captain James Horwill in their line-up next month against Oxford.
Despite having been away for a considerable time for his family due to the World Cup with South Africa, Brits was convinced by his wife to link up with the Barbarians.
It was Rassie Erasmus who talked Brits out of his first retirement in 2018. Now he is ready for a player-coach role with the Barbarians ahead his latest exit.
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“I’m getting involved with coaching the Barbarians and will join them for the matches with Brazil and Wales. I have a commitment to be in Hong Kong for Laureus this weekend when they play Fiji (in London).
“My role will probably be as mascot! I have been in talks for a while and my wife said ‘you love the Barbarians and this will be your last ever go’. I love the old school time with the Barbarians, the fun, having a beer with the lads and some golf. I will join the Barbarians next week. I will be doing Brazil and Wales and I will definitely get my boots on.”
The popular hooker has just finished the amazing bus tour around South Africa with the rest of the cup-winning Springboks, even bringing his three children with him for the Cape Town leg of the celebrations.
“I have only slept for 13 days in seven months at home,” he revealed. “My family took a bit of a beating from that perspective and it went from being home all the time while we were at Saracens to never being at home.
“If I am being selfish I would say it was worthwhile because we won the World Cup but if asked my kids, even though they had a fantastic time on the bus, there is a lot of time to make up. I have unbelievable memories but it was tough on my family.”
The chance to study at Cambridge is something Brits has been trying to arrange for the last two years and is part of the next stage of his working life in South Africa.
“I couldn’t start this September because of the World Cup and you cannot afford to miss all of those classes – you fail your year. I’m trying to sort out the finances to be able to start next September and I don’t know if they will want me to play in the varsity match at nearly 40 years old.
“I was the second oldest Springbok and one of the oldest World Cup winners. It means I have passed some milestones in recent years but I really don’t know if they want a 40-year-old. I haven’t crossed that bridge yet.”
By Chris Jones, RugbyPass
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