Smit and Brits to share the load at Saracens
Departing Springbok skipper John Smit will be rotated with former Stormers hooker Schalk Brits when the two are teammates at English club Saracens next season.
Saracens chief executive Edward Griffiths said Smit would share the hooking duties following the confirmation that he would join the club after the World Cup.
Brits has been the star player at Saracens for the past two seasons and won the Premiership's Players' Player of the Year in 2010. The arrival of a player of Smit's stature will put added pressure on Brits.
"The northern hemisphere season is very demanding and you're not going to compete in the Premiership and Heineken Cup without a strong squad," Griffiths said.
"We don't have a first team, if you like. We operate on a rotational system because of the amount of rugby we have to play. There are matches every weekend from the beginning of September to the end of May, so we need to rotate our players to keep them fresh.
"Our two scrumhalves, Richard Wigglesworth and Neil de Kock, rotate all the time and we need two top-class hookers to do the same.
"We are aware Schalk and John were vying for Springbok places against each other a few years ago, but they are both outstanding people and we're an environment very much focused on people, so I'm sure they'll settle very well."
Stylistically, Smit and Brits are polar opposites, with the former being a tighter, heavier, more traditional hooker. Brits is a wonderful athlete who operates like an extra loose forward. His skills are so highly rated that the Stormers drafted him in as a flank for their recent Super 15 semifinal.
Griffiths acknowledged that the two players have different styles, but said it was up to the coaches to choose the team and the players based on the game plan they intend to use for specific encounters.
Smit is following the path of 1995 World Cup-winning skipper Francois Pienaar by joining Saracens after a World Cup tournament. Pienaar went on to act as player/coach before moving into the boardroom.
Smit could follow a similar path when he reaches the end of his two-year contract, with Griffiths describing a potential move into coaching as a "possibility".