Schalk Brits missed the last three months of the Currie Cup season due to knee trouble, but the Vodacom Stormers hooker is hard at work in preparation of the Vodacom Super 14.
He says he feels fantastic and cannot wait for the season to kick off. Brits tore medial ligaments and posterior cruciate ligaments during Vodacom WP’s Currie Cup campaign and had to spend the rest of the year in rehabilitation.
“It is going fantastically well. I did a lot of cycling, physio, swimming, exercises with the physio and also went to see Spike Erasmus (knee specialist) every second week,” elaborated the former Lions and Cats star.
He said he feels strong in the gym and on the training field, but admits the big psychological test would be when he has to take contact.
“Physically there’s nothing wrong. The knee actually feels stronger than before the injury. But I’m waiting to see how it goes when I take contact the first time.”
Brits said he battled a bit with his fitness when he joined the Stormers training squad. “I never had trouble with fitness before, maybe it is the age factor,” quipped the 25-year-old.
“Those first sessions were quite tough. But Greg (Hecter, fitness and conditioning coach) takes care of us nicely. He doesn’t make it easy for us though.
“The sessions are very intense, although they are shorter than before. I can tell you it is tough.”
The former Paul Roos schoolboy said being on the sidelines was very frustrating, but he tried to use his “spare time” to good effect.
“It, however, gave me a chance to find my feet. I worked on the shortcomings in my game and I think I’ve reached my goals. Now I cannot wait for the season to begin.”
Throwing in at the lineouts and becoming more powerful were two aspects of his game that he gave special attention to. “I worked hard to reach certain goals Greg set for me. I am stronger than before and it feels fantastic.
“I am still weighing in at just above 100 kgs and worked hard to maintain that weight because sometimes you lose weight when you are injured for such a long period. For me it is not about the weight, but what you do with it.
“I wanted to become stronger and more explosive.”
Brits said his biggest goal for the 2007 season is to get the Stormers and WP teams where they should be: right at the top of the points’ tables.
“I believe we have the quality players do achieve that. We need to show the public we are good enough,” said Brits.
He said the World Cup in France features prominently in his plans for next year, but he is very realistic about it. “It is an unbelievable motivational factor, but it wouldn’t help if I focus on it too much now.
“The Stormers is my main concern now. If the team performs well, than the individuals have a better chance of making an impression. If I go out to prove a point on my own, nobody would benefit from it.”
Brits grew up in Mosselbay and says he is excitedly looking forward to the training camp in George from 15 to 20 December.
“Yes, I will pack my bags and go directly from training camp to Mosselbay for a few days of relaxation,” said the exciting forward.