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VIDEO: Schalk Brits gives the 'real story' on how Stormers dumped him

World Cup-winning Springbok Schalk Brits will be best remembered as a multi-skilled hooker, a World Cup winner at age 38 and a legend at two-times European Cup-winning Saracens.

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However, Brits – jovial and a pleasure to interview because of his brutal honesty – has a mind-boggling chapter in his life.

Brits, speaking on a United Rugby Championship media Round Table ahead of the crucial Round 16, explained why he signed for the Bulls in 2019 – after having returned to South Africa from Saracens and having ‘formally’ retired.

He was lured out of retirement by Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus, who worked with him at the Stormers in 2008 and 2009.

Brits was initially supposed to return to the Stormers in 2019, but due to the financial complications the Zelt Marais administration had put the union and franchises in, the deal was never completed and the Bulls snapped up the popular utility forward.

His career started in the Western Cape, where he represented Western Province at Under-18, Under-19, Under-21 and domestic senior level. Following a stint in Johannesburg with the Lions, he returned home in 2006 and captained the Stormers. Brits left the Stormers in 2009 as part of an influx of South Africans to English club Saracens and became a key player in a golden era for Saracens – winning four English Premiership titles (2011, 2015, 2016 and 2018) and two Champions Cup crowns in 2016 and 2017.

However, the shameful treatment meted out by the Western Province Rugby Football Union administration in 2019 saw him sign up to play in Pretoria to get game time ahead of the World Cup in Japan.

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“Nobody could ever understand why I signed with the Bullas,” the 15-times capped Bok said.

“After moving my entire family from Saracens and coming out of retirement, I was told that I was no longer wanted by the Stormers,” Brits said.

He also revealed the avocational manner in which the message was delivered – not even in person.

(WATCH as World Cup-winning Springbok Schalk Brits talks about the ‘real story’ behind his decision to sign for the Bulls and not the Stormers. as well as which South African team he now supports….)

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“I was at a Springbok camp,” he said, adding: “I was told, via text message: ‘You are not welcome anymore at the Stormers. Find a new place’.”

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Brits, asked by @rugby365com which South African team he now supports, said loyalty ‘cuts both ways’.

“When a South African team plays a foreign outfit, I will support the South African team,” the 42-year-old said.

He added that despite his ‘rotation’ between the various South African franchises, he never thought he would wear a Bulls shirt, given the intense rivalry between the two north-south adversaries.

“Currently, my three boys all wear Bulls shirts,” he proudly proclaimed.

“We are getting a lot of abuse here in Cape Town, for being Bulls supporters,” he said, adding: “But loyalty goes both ways.”

Always smiling and up for a joke, Brits is a rare brand of hooker – one as comfortable in the front row as he is in the backline and is considered to be one of Saracens’ greatest imports of all time.

Certainly not a conventional hooker, able to step and offload like any fleetfooted back.

Unfortunately, he was at the height of his career at the wrong time for the Springboks, with the national side having greats like John Smit and Bismarck du Plessis – all ahead of him in the national pecking order.

Brits, who earned more than 50 caps for the Stormers over two stints in Cape Town, was a popular figure among teammates and fans for the pure joy he took from playing the game.

Brits made his Springbok debut off the bench against Italy at Newlands Stadium in 2008, the first of 15 Test caps in the Green and Gold.

Brits was 38 years old when he lifted the Webb Ellis Cup, having led his country in the pool stage match against Namibia in Aichi, where he started at No.8, before making his final appearance at hooker against Canada.

@king365ed
@rugby365com

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