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Erasmus relieved as Brits puts his retirement on ice to help out Boks

 

By Duncan Bech

South Africa have sprung a surprise by calling up Schalk Brits for the remainder of their series against England - a fortnight after he had retired.

Brits attended the first Test in Johannesburg as a fan having played what was intended to be his final game of rugby when Saracens were crowned Aviva Premiership champions at Twickenham last month.

But with Springbok hookers Malcolm Marx and Bismarck du Plessis injured, the 37-year-old has agreed to join the squad in Bloemfontein and could be set to add to his 10 caps at Free State Stadium on Saturday.

"We'll definitely consider him for the matchday 23 for the next two games. He's not here just to be a 'coach'," said South Africa coach Rassie Erasmus, whose side won the opening Test 42-39.

"We are going to try some new things and we are going to encourage a new way of thinking. We want players to learn from guys like Schalk.

"Schalk is in the same category as Bismarck in terms of experience. He knows a lot of English players well as he played against them in the Premiership.

"We can only learn from him - specifically at the scrums, line-outs and in terms of individual players."

Brits is a popular figure in England where his dynamism and skill have lit up the Premiership, his lack of size for a modern hooker offset by his brilliance with the ball in hand.

His last Test appearance came three years ago, with his opportunities for the Springboks limited by the presence of John Smit and Du Plessis.

Erasmus also refused to rule out Brits' presence in the upcoming Rugby Championship campaign.

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