Bloemfontein - Heinrich Brüssow deserves to wear the Springboks’ No 6 jersey against the British and Irish Lions if one considers his consistency this year.
And Luke Watson deserves at least a place in the Springbok squad.
That is the view of former Cheetahs coach Peet Kleynhans. Both loose forwards impressed Kleynhans in Saturday’s Super 14 clash at Vodacom Park in Bloemfontein. The Stormers won 28-22.
The match did not produce fireworks, but the battle of the loose forwards was red-hot. It’s difficult to say who won the battle between Brüssow, Juan Smith and Hendro Scholtz of the Cheetahs, and Watson, Pieter Louw and Duane Vermeulen of the Stormers.
The controversial Watson was jeered when he ran on the field and he was clearly also targeted by the Cheetahs player.
“I think Luke played well. He has played better rugby this year than last,” said Kleynhans.
While the Stormers are successfully using Watson as a No 8, Kleynhans believes he should be considered as a No 6 flank by the Springboks.
Kleynhans added that Brüssow had been magnificent. “His strength is his consistency. He performs very well in every game. Even if Schalk Burger is available, Heinrich should be in the starting line-up.
“He played well again on Saturday and did his bit. You know every week what he will offer the side. He is a quality player.”
The Cheetahs are also using Brüssow to pack down at No 8 in the scrums, which shows his utility value.
Kleynhans believes Vermeulen will represent South Africa in future. “He is a strong contender, but his play was not as noticeable as last year. But big things lie ahead,” said Kleynhans.
Vermeulen had a quiet outing on Saturday by his high standards. Kleynhans believes Smith is still the best in his position in South Africa.
“He had a serious injury. He will continue to play good rugby as his confidence returns. He will be excellent behind a strong tight five,” he said.
Scholtz was used mainly as a ball-carrier, while Louw impressed with his lineout play and at the breakdowns.