Lions in SA

Brüssow to get his chance?

2009-06-15 23:03
Heinrich Brüssow set for Bok job (Gallo)
JJ Harmse

Durban - Cheetahs flank Heinrich Brüssow will in all likelihood make his Springbok run on debut against the British and Irish Lions on Saturday after he was asked to join the Springbok squad on Monday.

The uncertainty surrounding the fitness of flank Schalk Burger has forced Bok coach Peter de Villiers to invite the 22-year-old into the squad. The decision is not totally unexpected and will ensure that the Boks are covered in all positions.

It will give Brüssow the chance to play his first full Test after he got five minutes against England last year, coming on as a replacement.

De Villiers said on Monday that he will give Burger until Thursday to prove his fitness, but given the amount of rugby that he (Burger) has played in recent times, it might wiser to go ahead and play Brüssow.

Why it has taken the coach so long to pull Brüssow into the squad remains a good question. He, John Smit and Gary Gold have been singing the loose forward's praises after his performance against the Lions for the Cheetahs.

He also played well in the Springboks only official warm up match against the Namibian XV. But after that he was available to play for the Cheetahs and that has borne fruit for the nuggety flank.

De Villiers did say that Burger is an important part of his Bok game plan: "Because Schalk is so involved in all our plays, I must give him as much time as possible to prove his fitness. It will be a massive disappointment if he cannot play" said De Villiers.

The impending selection of Brussow will see Danie Russouw, who trained in Burger’s place last week, move back to the replacements bench.

But De Villiers has a lot of faith in the Blue Bull, "I see him as a multi-dimensional player who adds a lot of value, the type of player that I, as Bok coach, want in my side".

Brüssow was part of the training session on Monday, where a lot of emphasis was placed on the breakdown. Sharks coach, John Plumtree, a former Kiwi, was the man taking the session.

"The breakdown point is an area of play where the New Zealanders are very technical, and John added huge value with his insights on the subject" said De Villiers.

"It's also why I am pretty happy with referee Bryce Lawrence. As a New Zealander, he understands the breakdown, and he will hopefully keep an eye on the illegal play of the Lions in this area".

De Villiers did not want to give too much away on the team he plans to select on Tuesday, but it does look like he will have two props on the reserve bench, those being Deon Carstens and Gurthrö Steenkamp.


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