Brits joins Stormers on loan
June 27, 2011
Saracens' Schalk Brits will provide back-row cover for the Super Rugby title-chasing Stormers © Getty Images
Saracens' Schalk Brits has rejoined the Stormers on loan ahead of their Super Rugby semi-final against the Crusaders at Newlands on Saturday.
The Stormers have been granted special dispensation to recruit the all-action hooker on a short-term deal as they bid to combat a growing injury list that includes flanker Pieter Louw, No.8 Duane Vermeulen and Baby Boks forward Siya Kolisi.
Louw is recovering from a serious knee injury while Vermeulen was sidelined with a similar injury during the Stormers' victory over the Cheetahs two weeks ago. Kolisi was lined up as a replacement but suffered a concussion and wrist and shoulder injuries in a mugging incident on Friday night.
A request for dispensation was subsequently made to tournament organisers SANZAR who have since given the all-clear for Brits' return to the Super Rugby stage as back-row injury cover - two years after he quit the Stormers for England. As a result, Brits is now chasing a notable double having produced a man of the match performance to propel Saracens to a 22-18 victory over Leicester in this season's Aviva Premiership finale.
Stormers coach Allister Coetzee is confident Brits can make a seamless switch from hooker to back-row but the versatile 30-year-old is set to start Saturday's sudden-death clash on the bench with Schalk Burger, Francois Louw and Nick Koster favourites to start.
"Schalk played occasionally for the Stormers at loose forward, so it shouldn't be a problem," he told Keo.co.za. "He's been in outstanding form for Saracens this season, and while he has fed the lineouts and competed in the scrum, his role has effectively been that of a loose forward.
"I wanted someone who could fill Nick Koster's role on the bench, somebody who could make an impact and Schalk obviously fits the bill. He will not, however, be considered a hooking option."
Brits, capped three times by South Africa in 2008, failed to earn a place in the Springboks' training squad for the Rugby World Cup with coach Peter de Villiers seemingly happy with his current options as hooker. But Coetzee believes that Brits could still make a late run into the squad. "It's a high-profile game and I'm sure a good performance will force [De Villiers] to have a look," said Coetzee. "He has got that X-factor."
© ESPN EMEA Ltd
"The fans could not be happier with the opposition and it adds an exciting element to a game that is shaping up as a thriller." Ben Kay previews the Premiership final showdown
"If there was a cross breed of canine called an Underdogdoodle it would win best in show at Crufts." Mark Durden-Smith looks at the Aviva Premiership Final
With the Lions' tour to Australia fast-approaching, ESPN's Austin Healey and Mark Durden-Smith sat down to share their memories of the 2001 trip Down Under
Ask John answers questions on the Leopards' tour to Italy in 1974, brotherly Test sides, Pat McGrath, England's games against the Barbarians and Jacques Brunel