March 9 2014 Latest news:
Exclusive by James Cunliffe
Friday, February 28, 2014
Hooker Schalk Brits says he has no plans to follow prop Matt Stevens back to South Africa but admits that if he ever leaves Saracens it would never be for another English side.
It was announced last week that the British and Irish Lion and former England international tighthead would be leaving for Currie Cup champions Sharks, returning to his Durban birthplace after three years with the Hendon side.
He’s the second Sarries front rower to move to the Super Rugby outfit in successive seasons, although for record capped Springbok captain John Smit it was as CEO after he retired from playing in the summer.
Brits, however, is keen to remain in London, saying: “I don’t know what the future holds, but for now I’m very happy and I’m not looking to move.
“[If I ever leave] I won’t move to another English side. I’m very happy at Saracens and they look after my wife, my kid, my friends and my family. It’s just a great spot.
“I can’t say that I won’t go back [to South Africa] but, at the moment, this is the best spot I can be in.”
However, the 32-year-old hooker says Stevens will leave with the good wishes of everyone at the club.
“We’ve played rugby from school days onwards and we are very good mates,” Brits said.
“For him, it’s more than a rugby decision, it’s a life decision.
“He’s given everything and more in the time he’s been at Saracens and he will still give everything until the end of the season. He’s still and big, integral part of our team and he’s just a great rugby player.
“I can understand him going back home where he’s originally from. He’s got a lot of business interests with his dad in Durban and he’s joining a great outfit with John Smit, who was at Saracens, so it’s a good combination for him.
“As a friend and as a rugby player, we are definitely going to miss him because he’s a big character. I understand the reasons why he wants to go and I don’t want to hold him back.
“He’ll leave a void, but luckily we’ve got plans to keep other players fresh and give them great experience.
“I don’t know if Saracens are looking for another tighthead but we’re in the position we’ve got great tightheads already [in James Johnston and Petrus Du Plessis].”
Sarries’ director of rugby, Mark McCall, added: “Matt’s been brilliant for us since he’s come to the club.
“He’s from South Africa and he’s got an opportunity to go back there with his family. He goes with our good grace because he’s been brilliant for us. We’ll be sorry to lose him of course.”