McCaw return a 'bonus'
Bloemfontein - It will not be Heinrich Brüssow's job alone to beat Crusaders captain Richie McCaw in the loose on Saturday.
Brüssow believes that the Cheetahs are becoming a threat at the breakdowns for opponents in the Vodacom Super Rugby tournament thanks to the ability of players such as prop Coenie Oosthuizen and centre Robert Ebersohn to also steal balls.
McCaw makes his return in the Free State Stadium on Saturday after a concussion limited his participation in last weekend's match against the Stormers.
The duel between the All Black flank and Brüssow is not just of interest to the supporters of both teams. Springbok coach Peter de Villiers and All Black mentor Graham Henry are set to watch the clash with eagle eyes.
Brüssow, who looked a pedigreed Springbok against the Lions, believes his team-mates support him enough at the breakdowns and that it will not be his job alone.
"If you look at the statistics, you will see that Coenie Oosthuizen stole three balls and Robert Ebersohn four or five against the Lions. There are a number of guys in the team that are starting to poach balls. It makes it so much easier.
"As a team we have become a threat for our opponents at the breakdowns and that makes a big difference."
Brüssow (24) played his first game after a rib injury against the Brumbies this season and against the Lions he left the field shortly after halftime with his team leading 36-7.
The Bok fetcher said that the Cheetahs' recent success had made his comeback that much easier.
"The team's good form made it easy for me to come back. It's nice to play with a team that's going forward. It's easier than going backwards all the time. Our confidence is turning and that makes a big difference. There are a number of guys that are playing excellent rugby now."
While Brüssow believes that McCaw's return is a bonus for the Crusaders, he believes the Cheetahs should draw from their own recent performances.
"We have played better as a team of late - it's not necessarily the other teams that were weaker. That is why we are focusing on what we do well."
Meanwhile, the Sydney Morning Herald reports that McCaw provided the assurance that he would take "no risks" after the recent blow to his head.
The flank has a history of concussion and the worst is feared in New Zealand every time he gets a knock to the head.
"There is no way I will do anything funny and play when I shouldn't. That is when you get in trouble - when you don't respect the symptoms," he said.
15. Riaan Viljoen, 14. Riaan Smit, 13. Robert
Ebersohn, 12. Corné Uys, 11. Rayno Benjamin, 10. Sias Ebersohn, 9. Sarel
Pretorius, 8. Davon Raubenheimer, 7. Ashley Johnson, 6. Heinrich
Brussow, 5. Wilhelm Steenkamp, 4. Francois (FS) Uys, 3. WP Nel, 2.
Adriaan Strauss (Captain), 1. Coenie Oosthuizen
Ryno Barnes, 17. Lourens Adriaanse, 18. Waltie Vermeulen, 19. Kabamba
Floors, 20. Tewis de Bruyn, 21. Naas Olivier, 22. Hennie Daniller
15 Tom Marshall, 14 Robbie Fruean, 13 Ryan Crotty,
12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Zac Guildford, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Willi Heinz,
8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (captain), 6 George Whitelock, 5 Chris
Jack, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Ben Franks
16 Quentin MacDonald, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Joe Wheeler, 19 Matt Todd,
20 Steve Alfeld, 21 Matt Berquist, 22 Brent Ward