Former Scotland and Springbok hooker John Allan says Schalk Brits has brought stability to the Vodacom Bulls pack.
Brits, who temporarily retired from rugby last year after his contract with Saracens ended, joined the Bulls for the 2018 Vodacom Super Rugby season.
The 37-year-old has had a promising start to his Bulls career, setting up a try in their opening round win over the Stormers. However, he will face a tougher test of his abilities when he comes up against Lions hooker Malcolm Marx in Johannesburg on Saturday.
Allan, who played for Scotland between 1988 and 1993 before returning to represent the Boks, told SARugbymag.co.za that Brits’ experience and playing style has brought something different to the Bulls.
‘Brits has been good for the Bulls because they have a young squad. He and Duane Vermeulen have both brought stability and composure to the pack. The No 2 and No 8 positions are critical.
‘The difference between Brits and Marx is in the style of rugby they play,’ Allan added. ‘The Bulls traditionally don’t produce many hookers like Brits. Uli Schmidt was the last Bulls hooker who was very active around the field. Traditional Bulls hookers focus more on winning the ball in the lineout and scrum, whereas Brits is more of a ball player. You can’t really compare Marx and Brits, they are completely different.’
Allan was critical of Brits’ squad selection for the Springbok end-of-year-tour in 2018, especially as it saw Sharks hooker Akker van der Merwe left out. He said Brits was taking a position from a younger player and would not get much game time. In the end, he didn’t get any.
Allan’s opinion has not changed despite the hooker’s good form for the Bulls.
‘Brits is not going to play much for the Boks when you have Marx as the first-choice hooker and Bongi Mbonambi as the back-up. Then you have the likes of Akker van der Merwe.
‘Brits is a good player, but I still don’t see the logic in selecting him for the Boks. Having Marx, Mbonambi and Brits in the same squad is short-sighted. I can’t see Rassie Erasmus ever playing Brits.’
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