Schalk Brits Springboks

Schalk Brits. Photo: AFP

Where is former Springbok World Cup winner Schalk Brits now?

In a continued article series, we reflect on the unique career of former Springbok Schalk Brits, and look at what he’s doing now.

Schalk Brits Springboks

Schalk Brits. Photo: AFP

Schalk Brits retired from rugby in 2019 after winning the World Cup with the Springboks, which provided an incredible conclusion to a colourful career.

Brits, who earned more than 50 caps for the Stormers over two stints in Cape Town, was a popular figure among teammates and fans for the pure joy he took from playing the game.

Brits’ career started in the Western Cape, where he represented Western Province at U18, U19, U21 and Vodacom Cup level. Following a stint in Johannesburg with the Lions, he returned for another stint between 2006 and 2009.

It was at the Stormers that Brits first connected with Springbok boss Rassie Erasmus, who took over as head coach in 2008 and headed up the franchise as Director of Rugby until 2011. This would later play a key role in Brits’ sensational return to the national team several years later.

Brits left the Stormers in 2009 as part of an influx of South Africans to English club Saracens, although he did return on a short-term loan during the 2011 Super Rugby season.

Heading back to London, Brits went on to become a key player in a golden era for Saracens, winning four English Premiership titles (2011, 2015, 2016 and 2018) and two Champions Cup crowns in 2016 and 2017.

Brits made his Springbok bow off the bench against Italy at Newlands Stadium in 2008, the first of 15 Test caps in the green and gold.

He hung up his boots in 2019, but came out of retirement at the Bulls after a call from Erasmus ahead of the Springboks’ Rugby World Cup campaign in Japan that year.

Brits once brilliantly explained in an interview with the Irish Independent how his recall to the Springboks caught him completely off guard just as he was preparing for life after rugby.

“I was sipping tequilas in Ibiza with my wife and three boys when I first got a text message from someone and I didn’t know who it was, asking if I would like to play a bit more rugby.

“And then when I tried to find a little more about who was texting, that person told me he was Rassie and I’ve known Rassie from quite a long while ago and had bit of chat on text messages.

“I thought someone was taking the p*** or playing a practical joke on me, so I phoned Vincent Koch and he sent me Rassie’s contact details. It’s all been quite interesting,” he laughed.

Schalk Brits made a memorable return to the Springboks

Brits was 38 years old when he lifted the Webb Ellis Cup, having led his country in the pool stage match against Namibia in Aichi, where he started at No 8, before making his final appearance at hooker against Canada.

However, his role at the tournament went a lot further than just his on-field actions, with Brits playing a key leadership and mentorship role as a seasoned veteran who was critical to establishing a strong team culture.

What has the former forward been up to since retiring?

After the World Cup triumph with the Springboks, Schalk Brits transitioned into the corporate world as he started work for the Johan Rupert-owned Remgro, where he spent two years.

He then moved into a role as a Business Development Director at investment company Southern Right Capital.

However, in a recent interview with the Behind the Ruck podcast, Brits revealed that he recently opted to head in a different direction.

“I resigned and actually took a sabbatical for the last year, doing some (broadcast) work for SuperSport, and I’m doing some corporate stuff, but no longer an 8-5 job… The only boss I currently have is my wife,” he added with a laugh.

He also admitted the transition from rugby to sports retirement was a complete game-changer.

“It’s a mind blow, you come to realise that the corporate world is so different to the rugby world, and it’s very difficult to catch up when you join that quite late in life compared to others.”

As Brits pursues other interests, he also serves as an ambassador for proudly South African VSOP Avante Potsill Brandy, which was recently launched.