Saturday 20 October 2018

'I was sipping tequila in Ibiza when I got South Africa call-up' - Schalk Brits

Schalk Brits. Photo: Reuters
Schalk Brits. Photo: Reuters

Duncan Bech

Schalk Brits was sipping tequila in Ibiza when he first received contact from South Africa boss Rassie Erasmus asking whether he was interested in playing England.

Brits has unexpectedly been called into the Springboks' squad for the remaining two Tests of a series that started with a mesmerising 42-39 victory at Ellis Park and continues in Bloemfontein and Cape Town.

Just two weeks after he had retired from the sport after Saracens were crowned Aviva Premiership champions at Twickenham, the 37-year-old hooker accepted Erasmus' invitation to join his squad.

But he was forced to hide the news from his former Saracens team-mates when joining them for a coffee at England's team hotel the day after South Africa had won the Johannesburg opener.

"I met them at Montecasino and went straight from there to the airport to join the Springboks," he said.

"As I wasn't allowed to announce it to them, I then had to put some Springbok gear on at the airport to fly with the team!

"I was sipping tequilas in Ibiza with my wife and three boys when I first got a text message from someone and I didn't know who it was, asking if I would like to play a bit more rugby.

"And then when I tried to find a little more about who was texting, that person told me he was Rassie and I've known Rassie from quite a long while ago and had bit of chat on text messages.

"I thought someone was taking the p*** or playing a practical joke on me, so I phoned Vincent Koch and he sent me Rassie's contact details. It's been an interesting week.

"It's all been quite interesting and I begged our nanny to look after our kids because my wife Colinda is flying to Bermuda on Sunday for a conference.

"There's been a lot of shuffling of the deck of cards for the last couple of days to make it all happen and thankfully it's all worked out.

"A lot of people had to make a lot of sacrifices for this to happen so I'm really grateful to them all and I am so delighted to be in this squad whether I play or don't play."

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