Schalk Brits says it will be amazing to lead the Boks against Argentina, but has reiterated that ‘Siya Kolisi is still our captain’.
Brits will be leading the Boks out at Loftus on Saturday in what is the Boks’ last home game before the World Cup.
Rassie Erasmus has already stated that Kolisi will be the Springboks’ captain at the World Cup if ‘medically fit’, but Brits said he was extremely excited to be taking over the leadership reins for this one-off Test.
‘To lead my country is one dream that has come true for me and it’s going to be amazing to lead out this group of players representing our country and the Springboks,’ a beaming Brits told the media at the team hotel in Pretoria on Friday.
‘For me, being part of the Springboks is such a huge honour. I’ve been involved with the Springboks since 2008 and only played 12 Test matches, but every time I get selected, or even performing a supporting role, it’s an unbelievable honour.
‘Siya is still our captain and I am going to rely heavily on him and the other leaders in our team. From my perspective, we just want a complete team performance, and if we can get that right then I think we will be happy as a team.’
Brits was a stalwart for the Stormers and then joined English club Saracens, where he attained almost cult-like status. He returned to South Africa after his contract in England ended and came out of retirement to join the Vodacom Bulls for the 2019 Vodacom Super Rugby campaign, after which he was called up to the Springboks.
‘Being back in the country and then part of the squad is unbelievable and I am really grateful, every day, for having a second chance,’ said Brits.
‘From a performance point of view, we just want to put up a performance that our other team mates will be proud of. We have a specific plan and a process and if we follow that then hopefully we will be successful.’
Brits added that he knew Argentina would be a very difficult opponent at Loftus.
‘At Saracens I played alongside some Argentina team mates and I can tell you they are a tough bunch, very proud and very hard to play against.
‘They have made some changes and we know they will come very hard at us, so we will have to be prepared for that.’
Meanwhile, Scarra Ntubeni is set to make his Springbok debut off the bench tomorrow, and Brits had a few word of encouragement for the Western Province hooker, whom he described as a great rugby player and even a better person’.
‘I’ve seen Scarra from a young age and although I’m very grey, he is getting more grey than me! It’s amazing to see a guy like that who have been in the trenches, had a lot of injuries and coming through the system,’ said Brits.
‘I’m backing him and he’s backing me up tomorrow. To learn everything in one week is tough but he is a clever player so I can’t wait to see him the Green and Gold and I hope he puts in a performance that is unbelievable.’
Photo: Grant Pitcher/Gallo Images