Rugby World Cup 2011

Wales wary of 'classy' Brüssow

2011-09-04 15:09
Heinrich Brüssow (File)

Wellington - Springboks openside flanker Heinrich Brüssow has been singled out as a dangerman by Wales defensive coach Shaun Edwards, with the world champion South Africans showing signs of their all-conquering 2009 form.

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Wales and the Springboks square off in their World Cup Pool D opener on Sept. 11 in Wellington and Edwards said his players were well aware of the challenge facing them next week.

"The Springboks, on paper are looking like the team of 2009 again," Edwards told reporters in Wellington, referring to the side that beat the British and Irish Lions and swept through the Tri-Nations, which included three wins against New Zealand.

"They're looking very strong with Heinrich Brüssow back in and all the stars that played the Lions in that series. That adds to the challenge.

"If we do manage to pull it (a victory) off, we'll do it against a full-strength Springboks team."

Edwards said he felt Brüssow, who missed most of 2010 with a knee injury, had managed to adapt to changes in rule interpretations that gives the advantage to the attacking side, making him still a serious threat.

"He's a genuine world class six and they are very hard to come by," Edwards said of the 25-year-old Brüssow .

"Obviously in 2009 the way the game was refereed then he didn't need to release when he hit the floor so that was to his advantage, but to his credit he is still turning ball over under the new interpretations.

"That's a great credit to him that he has adapted his style and technique of getting on the ball (and that) ... will be a big challenge for our loose forwards."

Edwards said the Welsh were acutely aware discipline would be key, given South Africa's style of kicking for territory and putting pressure on the opposition inside their own half, then converting that pressure into kickable penalties.

"We are very conscious of discipline. It's a massive priority on our list going into each game," Edwards said.

"We know we have had massive discipline problems in the past but we have worked very, very hard.

"Against England (at Twickenham on Aug. 6) we gave four penalties away, which is an all-time low for us.

"In the home game (on Aug. 13) we gave a few more away, but it is something we have worked very, very hard on.

"It's something we stress massively within the set-up."

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