Schalk Brits described the chance to captain South Africa for the first time at the age of 38 as a “dream come true” and expressed his gratitude for the opportunity.
Brits has not started for the Springboks since 2008 and has just 12 caps to his name, but he will lead the side out against Argentina this weekend.
The Bulls hooker becomes his country’s oldest first-time skipper and is relishing the opportunity.
Brits says he will rely on regular captain Siya Kolisi for advice and hopes he can justify the “unbelievable honour” of being involved.
“To lead my country is one dream that has come true for me and it’s going to be amazing to lead out this group of players representing our country and the Springboks,” he told reporters on Friday.
“For me, being part of the Springboks is such a huge honour. I’ve been involved with the Springboks since 2008 and only played 12 Test matches, but every time I get selected, or even performing a supporting role, it’s an unbelievable honour.
Rassie Erasmus and Schalk Brits, captain, with Scarra Ntubeni who is set to make his Springbok debut off the bench vs Argentina on Saturday at Loftus. #Springboks #StrongerTogether @MTNza @ASICS_ZA@FNBSA pic.twitter.com/5Vh4Rb7chu
— Springboks (@Springboks) August 16, 2019
“Siya is still our captain and I am going to rely heavily on him and the other leaders in our team.
“From my perspective, we just want a complete team performance, and if we can get that right then I think we will be happy as a team.”
Happy just to be back in the side, having last year returned from a lengthy spell at Saracens, Brits added: “Being back in the country and then part of the squad is unbelievable.
“I am really grateful, every day, for having a second chance.”