Schalk Brits confirms retirement at end of season

Schalk Brits, pictured with the ball, was brilliant in Saracens' win over Northampton
Schalk Brits, pictured with the ball, was brilliant in Saracens' win over Northampton

South Africa international Schalk Brits has confirmed that he will be retiring from professional rugby at the end of the ongoing season.

The 36-year-old had an impressive outing for Saracens in the Aviva Premiership opener against Northampton Saints at Twickenham Stadium where he set up four and scored one try as Mark McCall's men completed a resounding 55-24 victory.

Saracens rugby director McCall insisted that he will look at options to tempt the South African hooker to change his mind on the retirement but Brits affirmed that he is firm on his decision.

"This will definitely be my last season," said Brits.

"I had three operations in the off-season so it is enough.

"It will be hard to leave, but for me it feels like it is the right time.

"There are younger guys coming through. It is time to sit back and have a beer and enjoy watching it and not just get bashed up.

"I was very close to retiring at the end of last season. But then there was an inkling to play another year, and we have lost some big individuals at Saracens so I decided to do one more season.

"I had spoken with Cambridge and Oxford about an MBA. It would be an unbelievable experience.

"But now I am here at Saracens for one more year, and it was team-mates and friends, not just Mark (McCall), that convinced me.

"If you step away, you step away, there is no return, you are not getting any younger.

"I am 36 and it is almost time to say goodbye to this lovely game but there is still a season and my role is to play as best as I can and to help the other guys as well."

Saracens scored a total of seven tries in the first half that included a hat-trick from Sean Maitland as well to make a strong statement but their momentum was taken away a bit in the second half when Tom Wood scored a brace of tries while Lewis Ludlam also crossed over and Brits is hoping to maintain consistency throughout in the coming games.

"To have a first half as close to perfect as we thought we can to start the season off was fantastic," said Brits.

"The second half was not great. I was not happy with the amount of tries we let in.

"Next weekend we play Bath and that will be a different game."

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Aviva Premiership Rugby 2017/18 - Points Table