The Saracens and Springboks hooker on golf, gags and guilty pleasures
RUGBY WORLD: Who are the jokers in the Springboks squad?
SCHALK BRITS: In my earlier days, it was Jean De Villiers, Jaque Fourie and Bakkies Botha, while more recently guys like Morné Steyn and Willie Le Roux have come up with some very funny moments.
RW: Any practical jokes you can share?
SB: At Saracens I’ve had my Vespa and helmet cling-wrapped and taped – it took me ages to get it all off. They also hide each other’s cars and smear Vaseline on door handles.
RW: Ever bought anything really silly?
SB: I once bought a very silly fancy-dress outfit of Mr Incredible, but I’d have to say it was my Porsche 911, which is a great car but not really a proper vehicle to transport a family of four – we have two kids.
RW: Do you have any nicknames?
SB: Recently with the Boks, I’ve been called ‘Scarra’ (after Western Province hooker Scarra Ntubeni) because Heyneke Meyer got me mixed up with the real Scarra, which is close to my nickname ‘Schalla’.
Way back when I was at Western Province, I had longish hair and my team-mates called me ‘Fabio’, while at Sarries I’m ‘Diamond’ because I can bugger up any drill.
RW: What’s the funniest thing you’ve seen on the pitch?
SB: I got smashed by referee Wayne Barnes during a match for Saracens. I still get a lot of grief from my team-mates about it.
RW: Do you have any phobias?
SB: The only thing I’m scared of is not throwing the ball straight into the lineout.
RW: What about bugbears?
SB: I’m easy-going, but dishonesty annoys the crap out of me.
RW: Do you have any superstitions?
SB: Yes, but it doesn’t involve rugby. When I play golf, I always ensure there is a little wager on the game, otherwise I don’t enjoy it all that much. Golf is no fun if there is no competition.
RW: If you could have one superpower what would it be and why?
SB: The power of reading other people’s minds and controlling their thoughts.
RW: Who’d you like to be stuck in a lift with?
SB: Firstly, I’d enjoy having South African comedian Barry Hilton in there as he can lighten the atmosphere with a few jokes and stories.
Charlize Theron can be in there and Stephen Hawking would be interesting to chat to. Finally, I’d have Neo from The Matrix as he’s the guy who will be able to get us out.
RW: Who would be your three dream dinner party guests?
SB: The same as the lift – but Neo misses out.
RW: What would you like to achieve outside of rugby?
SB: Firstly, I’d like to keep my wife happy. I’m also planning to join Remgro in South Africa after my playing days to work in their investment arm. But keeping my wife happy would be the most important.
RW: Who’d play you in a film of your life?
SB: Liam Neeson.
RW: How’d you like to be remembered?
SB: As a friendly guy who always smiled but never gave anything less than his best.
RW: What’s your guilty pleasure?
SB: Häagen-Dazs ice cream, especially the salted caramel flavour.
RW: Do you have any hidden talents?
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SB: My golf is pretty good and I’m not too bad in the kitchen, which helps in keeping my wife happy…
This interview was published in the August 2014 edition of Rugby World. Click here for the latest subscription offers.