South African Rugby
Brits aiming to add to caps total
ESPN Staff
November 3, 2012
Saracens hooker Schalk Brits charges into space, Saracens v Harlequins, Aviva Premiership, Wembley Stadium, London, England, March 31, 2012
Schalk Brits is hopeful of adding to his three South Africa caps during the autumn Tests © Getty Images
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Saracens' hooker Schalk Brits has admitted that he was surprised to be given the chance to add to his three South Africa caps in the upcoming November internationals.

Brits made his debut against Italy in 2008 and subsequently won caps away to New Zealand and Australia later that year before he found his path to further honours blocked by the form of John Smit and Bismarck du Plessis. When he signed for Saracens in 2009 it appeared that he was turning his back on the Springboks, though he continued his dynamic form and helped Saracens to win the 2011 Premiership. Now it has taken an injury to Du Plessis and Smit's international retirement to give Brits the chance to add to his caps.

"It was so unexpected. I never imagined that when I played against Australia in Perth in 2008, that it would be my last cap. But it looked that way. You always have a dream, you always hope, but the reality was there," Schalk told The Daily Telegraph. "I knew I'd made my bed in many ways by coming to Saracens three years ago. The chances of playing for my country again were slim to nothing. And now? Well, look, there are a stack of injuries in the Springboks, I've got the call and if they want me to hold a tackle bag, I'll hold a tackle bag, come on for 30 seconds at the end of a game, I'll come on with a smile on my face. I'm going to relish every second. It's a second lease of life. "

Brit is now in line to feature in the Springboks' matches against Ireland on November 10, Scotland on November 17 and England on November 24. He won player of the year in his first season in England and was man of the match when Saracens beat Leicester Tigers in the 2011 Premiership final. The hooker also won try of the year that season and during the close-season he returned to South Africa on loan to the Stormers where he played as a flanker. Despite his form then-South Africa coach Peter de Villiers chose the greater size of Smit and Du Plessis for his kick-chase style of play.

"South Africans do like their boys to be big, and, to be fair, as a race, you can see why," Brits said. "There's a bit of choice in that regard. You know, people said it would never work for me up in the northern hemisphere. The game was too scrum-orientated; too pick n'drive dominated, too tight for someone like me. Well, I have to say I've fallen in love with scrummaging. It took a while. But that was part of the reason for coming here, to get that side of my game developed."

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