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Louise Warr pays tribute to Saracens hooker Schalk Brits who was called up to the South Africa squad this week
There were many topics that came to mind when thinking about writing this week but it was an event that took place at Franklin's Gardens that I’m sure would have brought a smile to every Sarries fan’s face, which made the decision for me.
Surprisingly I am not going to write about Saturday’s win over fierce rivals Northampton, but a man who the South African coaching team have decided they can no longer ignore - yes I am talking about Schalk Brits.
As Saracens fans, we have been lucky enough to witness the magic of Mr Brits since he signed for the club in 2009 and now he finally gets to show off his talent once again on the world stage.
Everybody is bound to have their favourite Schalk moment, and let’s be honest there are many to choose from.
I would have to say mine took place at England's match against Barbarians at Twickenham in 2009 in which he was awarded the man of the match award.
I was sat in the crowd as he set off on one of his now trademark runs and suddenly the future of the club we all love seemed that little bit brighter, and who would have guessed that two years later he would be back on the hallowed turf setting up a try that would propel Sarries to their first ever Premiership title?
As much of a talent as he is on the pitch, that is only half the story when it comes to Schalk Brits and anybody that has ever had the pleasure of meeting him will know exactly what I am about to say.
Schalk has time for everybody, regardless of the time, place or club that they support and the best way to highlight this would be to share with you a conversation I overheard while at Franklin’s Gardens on Saturday.
It was post match and took place when the players were carrying out their lap of honour, and as happens most weeks, Schalk was the last player around, signing autographs and chatting to everybody as he went.
We stopped to congratulate him on the win, much to the amazement of my Saints supporting friend who had joined us for the game, and it turns out she was not the only person to be impressed that day.
On the way out of the ground one of the stewards joked with a Saints fan, who had just had their photograph taken with the Saracens hooker, about how they were “fraternising with the enemy.”
Moments later though the steward admitted to the Northampton supporter that it was acceptable on this occasion because Schalk is not only an amazing player but a really nice guy, a complete gentleman - a sentiment shared by most of us fans who have spent time in his company.
Not only has Schalk won the hearts of all the Sarries fans but those of rugby fans up and down the country, despite him often having a hand in a Saracens win against their chosen team.
I am sure I will be joined by many in congratulating Schalk in his call up to the South African squad, and wishing him the very best of luck.
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