Schalk Brits is preparing for what he believes is going to be “a humdinger” of a North versus South Derby between the Vodacom Bulls and DHL Stormers at Loftus Versfeld this Saturday, and one where he believes past results will count for nothing.
“It’s going to be a humdinger. You’ve got Jake White coming back and having a newfound appreciation for the game and life following his health scare. He’s a fantastic coach and he’ll get the best out of this Vodacom Bulls side. But there is definitely some spice in this game, especially after the Vodacom United Rugby Championship final last year. John Dobson has been fantastic with his team and keeping them so focused with all that’s going on in their union. For me it’s the two best South African sides taking each other on this weekend,” said Brits.
“There have always been unbelievable matches between these two teams. It’s always been intense, physical and entertaining. I think it’s always been the biggest local game of the year.”
The Vodacom United Rugby Championship clash involving a South African rivalry dating back over 70 years has once again captured the attention of local fans, with 37 000 tickets out for this game. And Brits remembers well what it was like to run out in front of those fans this match.
“When you play in a North versus South Derby, it’s intense. The crowds are usually big and fairly hostile towards the opposition. But it was always an unbelievable experience for me that started with the build-up in that week. As a player we always had a very physical and intense build-up for this game. There was always a bit extra that went into preparing for this game. More than any other match. And past performances mean nothing in this game. It’s no indication of who will win on the day. Even as players you would write off any previous performances of either yourself or the opposition going into this game.”
Brits also said he’s very happy to be watching this one from the stands.
“I’m very excited but I’m also very happy I’m not playing anymore. I can wake up on a Sunday morning and play with my boys, because as a player after this game you always needed a couple of days to recover. I’m looking forward to a fantastic experience, and I’ll be part of the Vodacom RED Suite Experience with some VIPs watching it. Jean de Villiers will be there as well, so we’ll definitely have a bit of banter going between the two of us.”