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Un-retired Brits 'in better nick'

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'I’m in better nick than when I was playing' - Schalk Brits on his continued comeback

Schalk Brits has had one of rugby’s shortest retirements and his comeback continues.

Although still without a club, he has been selected to play for the Barbarians in their Killik Cup match against Argentina on December 1st at Twickenham.

The Baabaas will be coached by Springboks head coach Rassie Erasmus, someone who played a vital role in his retirement u-turn.

“I missed rugby so much I’ve changed my mind,” Brits told the Barbarians website.

“I got a call from Rassie with reference to keep being involved until the next World Cup. After the June tests I still want to keep on playing and I’ve postponed work and my studies until after then,” Brits said.

The match against Argentina is all part of his strategy to stay in shape to give himself the best possible opportunity to be selected for the South Africa squad at the 2019 World Cup in Japan.

Brits was due to retire following Saracens Premiership success last May, it was his fourth league title with the club, to go with the two Champions Cup medals he also won under Mark McCall at Sarries.

But he hasn’t looked back since he decided to continue playing.

“A friend said to me recently, ‘what’s the difference between being 37 and 38?’ It’s a fantastic opportunity and an honour whenever you play for the Springboks so I’ll be trying to stay in contention.

“I’ve been staying on top of things and I’m in better nick than when I was playing. You get the chance to rehabilitate properly and I’m feeling fantastic and can’t wait to play again. I enjoyed playing against England at Newlands but we lost that Test so I hope the next time will bring a better result.”

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Brits won’t be the only Springbok in the Barbarians squad, with outhalf Handre Pollard and Eben Etzebeth confirmed. Wallaby scrum half Will Genia has also agreed to play.

Brits in the Barbarians squad which beat newly-crowned World Cup champions South Africa 22-5 in 2007. He also played against England, Ireland and the British & Irish Lions. His most recent appearance was in May 2017 when he was named on the bench in a 28-14 defeat against England.

“Being part of the Barbarians was one of the best rugby experiences I’ve ever had — in terms of pure entertainment and meeting guys you normally bash week-in, week-out it’s outstanding,” Brits added.

“My first experience was in 2007 against South Africa after they’d just won the World Cup and we smashed them. In all it was a great week. You have to give your best at the weekend when it comes to the crunch and earn the respect of your teammates.

Watch: All Blacks reflect on comeback win over Springboks

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'I’m in better nick than when I was playing' - Schalk Brits on his continued comeback