‘Great guy’ Scarra Ntubeni deserves Bok debut, says Schalk Brits

Springbok hooker and stand-in captain Schalk Brits (right) with fellow hooker and teammate Scarra Ntubeni during the captain's run at Loftus in Pretoria Friday.
Springbok hooker and stand-in captain Schalk Brits (right) with fellow hooker and teammate Scarra Ntubeni during the captain's run at Loftus in Pretoria Friday.
Image: Christiaan Kotze/BackpagePix

Springbok stand-in captain Schalk Brits says the expected international debut for Scarra Ntubeni is an overdue reward for the amount of work the Stormers hooker has put in over the past few seasons.

Ntubeni, who only linked up with the squad this week, is expected to make his debut from the bench in the Boks’ farewell Test ahead of the Rugby World Cup against Argentina on Saturday at Loftus (kickoff 5.05pm), following in the footsteps of Lizo Gqoboka.

Gqoboka was the player to make a debut when the Springboks beat Australia in their first match of this year’s Rugby Championship at Ellis Park last month.

"Unbelievable, what a great guy," enthused Brits about Ntubeni, who has been called up to the Bok squad on a few previous occasions.

"He is an unbelievable rugby player and even a better person. I have seen Scarra from a young age – well, I have seen many players from a young age – and it is amazing to see a guy like that who has been in the trenches and coming through the system.

"I am backing him up and I know that he is backing me up and it is good to have a guy like that."

Brits said he is not worried by the fact that Ntubeni has only been with the Boks since Monday because the hooker has learned quickly how things are done in the national team.

"To learn everything in a week is hard work but he is a clever player and individual. I can’t wait to see him in the green and gold and I hope that he puts a performance together that is unbelievable.

"You can’t determine selection but the one thing you can do [right] is your attitude, and for me having Scarra as part of the team is unbelievable because he brings the energy to the group.

"I have never seen him grumpy, unless when we are playing against each other, he is an amazing guy and talented rugby player. I know his pain of having waited for this long and his chance has duly arrived."

Brits also had some good things to say about prop Trevor Nyakane, who has been impressive in Super Rugby and the Rugby Championship.

"I can’t take credit for Trevor’s scrumming – he has put in the hard work," the stand-in skipper said.

"People don’t understand – to move from loosehead to tighthead and put performances like he has been putting, I take my hat off for him.

"The scrum is eight guys in there pushing and Daan Human has put in a lot of work with the guys at the Bulls. We have put in a lot of work to put in something that is a little bit different to the Bulls.

"I like the scrumming and that is why I don’t play scrumhalf or centre. The scrum is the beauty of rugby.

"It is the only opportunity where your face is there and you can’t hide. If you don’t do your work, you get pressed into a little bin and it is a tough place to be."

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