Brüssow good, but so's Minnie

2011-03-10 16:12

Johannesburg - Prior to his long injury lay-off, Cheetahs flank Heinrich Brüssow was considered to be one of the best open-side flanks in the business.

At his team announcement on Thursday, Lions coach John Mitchell said he agrees with that statement, but added that his men are not that far off the pace.

“Brüssow is obviously going to be strong on the ground, I rate him big time and certainly felt the Boks missed him or that kind of skills set last year,” Mitchell said on Thursday.

“But I also rate my loose forwards and I think they are world class and they will go on to play Tests eventually,” he added.

Mitchell made two changes to his starting line-up for Saturday’s Super Rugby derby against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein, yet, most pundits were far more interested in the former All Black coach’s views on the breakdown specialist.

“We’ve obviously got history on the skills sets of Brüssow. He’s an outstanding open-side flank but so is Derick Minnie so it should be a pretty big contest,” he reiterated.

This week, former Sharks scrumhalf Rory Kockott will earn his first starting cap ahead of Jano Vermaak who took a knock to the head in last week’s match against the Blues.

As a result, Michael Bondisio has been promoted from the Vodacom Cup team to halfback cover on the bench.

Mitchell also decided to reward former All Blacks Sevens star James Kamana with a start at fullback ahead of Jaco Taute.

While the Lions have made only two changes to their run-on side and one switch on the bench, the Cheetahs have decided to field five new faces in their team's first XV this weekend.

Mitchell said the men coming into the Free State squad are very similar to the ones they are replacing.

“All we can control are the positions that they have selected,” he said.

“We don’t see a lot of difference at fullback so there should be a similar approach there.

“Sias (Ebersohn) is running flyhalf so again he is probably not much different to Olivier."

Asked what he is expecting from the opponents, Mitchell highlighted that there have been great improvements in the Cheetahs’ squad since their last meeting.

“They’re very direct, very blunt, and they defend a lot better since the Currie Cup.

“They always pride themselves on their directness and they have great belief at home.

“Then you have Ashley Johnson who, I think, is a key figure. He provides an enormous amount of momentum.”

The Lions will travel to Bloemfontein in search of their first Super Rugby victory since May 8 2009.



15. Riaan Viljoen, 14. Philip Snyman, 13. Robert Ebersohn, 12. Andries Strauss (captain), 11. Ryno Benjamin, 10. Sias Ebersohn, 9. Sarel Pretorius, 8. Ashley Johnson, 7. Philip van der Walt, 6. Heinrich Brüssow, 5. Wilhelm Steenkamp, 4. Martin Muller, 3. WP Nel, 2. Ryno Barnes, 1. Coenie Oosthuizen

Substitutes: 16. Skipper Badenhorst, 17. Kobus Calldo, 18. Kabamba Floors, 19. Francois Uys, 20. Tewis de Bruyn, 21. Naas Olivier, 22. Fabian Juries

15. James Kamana, 14. Lionel Mapoe, 13. Waylon Murray, 12. Doppies La Grange, 11. Michael Killian, 10. Elton Jantjies, 9. Rory Kockott, 8. Warren Whiteley, 7. Josh Strauss, 6. Derick Minnie, 5. Franco van der Merwe (capt), 4. Wikus van Heerden, 3. Patrick Cilliers, 2. Bandise Maku, 1. JC Janse van Rensburg

Substitutes: 16. Martin Bezuidenhout, 17. Kevin Buys, 18. Michael Rhodes, 19. Cobus Grobbelaar, 20. Michael Bondesio, 21. Burton Francis, 22. Jaco Taute


  • Oukoos - 2011-03-10 16:29

    STem saam. Beide is twee uitsonderlike spelers.

      Theo - 2011-03-10 16:51

      stem saam en met die nuwe reels is elke flank mar ewe efektief op die grond!mar as ek moes kies sou ek brusow loshande bo minnie kies. go lions first win in 23089550427 games on saturday!

  • earlbok - 2011-03-10 16:42

    Brussouw i hope stil has got those skills which made him so highly rated in a short time, just hope the pressure of expectation dont get to him coz as a bok we need him back 2 his very best well hope for a great game no matter who wins

  • AgPseDaddy - 2011-03-10 17:00

    Dam it John! when are you going to listen to the people that pay your salary? GET RID OF Elton Jantjies AND YOU WILL HAVE A WINNING TEAM!!! Take a page out of the Stormers book they have thrown out Januarie and the other Jantjies!!!!

      saburger - 2011-03-10 17:20


      Superdude - 2011-03-10 17:48

      And play who? Rose? Elton is talented, let him play. I would say find another kicker though and relieve him of those duties.

      Hunter - 2011-03-10 19:54

      AgPseDaddy, get off your daddy's PC and go do your homework!

      Jaco - 2011-03-11 08:54

      Last year when Elton played sort of good in the Currie Cup all you Lions were "Oooh Elton is sooo good! Elton is a Springbok! Elton this, Elton that! Now when he is playing under pressure all of you want him out of the team!!! That's typical clueless rugby supporters talking like always overate players way before they have shown there actual skills! That is very sad....

      Johnny - 2011-03-11 09:24

      ...Elton Jantjies is an overrated (pushed) quota player... ......just like Earl Rose....

      Jimmyboy - 2011-03-11 12:49

      What idiotic statements. Naas olivier has been dropped, but I don't see anybody complaining about him. Jantjies had close to 90% kicking rate last year, with 25 consecutive kicks going over. I'm not saying he's the greatest ever. But how you guys can compare earl rose to elton jantjies , well...that just proves how much you know about rugby. And elton isn't a quota player, another stupid comment, who else are lions going to play in the flyhalf role? Andre pretorius? As much as I love the guy he is past it. Burton francis? Oh you guys will probably also slate him because he's also probably a quota player? Stupid comments guys. Shut up and watch the game and see who really preforms. . .

  • powachair - 2011-03-10 17:12

    What did Taute do wrong? I rated him highly in the last couple of games

      mike - 2011-03-10 18:32

      Suprised to see him drop Taute, I was not that impressed with Kamana actually. Came on as a sub and didn't really add anything to the game. Would of liked to see him play on the wing as someone else commented in place of Mapoe, Mapoe defense is non existant, he seems to slip tackles on purpose and try get them from behind which is usually a sign of a player scared to make contact.

      Johan - 2011-03-11 08:24

      Taute had a good game against the blues I agree! But he break the line and there after he didn't consider the supporting runners! If he have done that we had scored maybe 2 more tries! I don't think its anything against him! I think JM has the right idea! Kamana is a game breaker and didn't had a lot of time! I think he will rotate them! Jantjies is a talented player! The only way you get experience at this level is if you play at this level! Vodacom cup is not going to give him that experience! Jantjies is in the deep end! I think he will perform better this week he is used to facing SA sides! I think last week he felt the presure of NZ rugby espesialy against Luke Mc! Think we have a good chance this week! GO LIONS

  • saburger - 2011-03-10 17:15

    I agree with John - Derick Minnie and his loose forward mates have won their battles by far in the three previous Super 15 games this year against some of SA';s and NZ's best forwards. I expect a lot from them!

      mike - 2011-03-10 18:35

      Lions loose trio have been very impressive. Just don't understand the repetition of giving Minnie the ball from all the kick off. I mean at the death the Blues kicked deep and I think Kockett caught the ball and had hours to make a clearing kick. Instead they went to Minnie again, Blues were waiting for him, Knocked him back put pressure on the pass and Elton dropped the ball. The rest was history, if you going to kick anyways why play the extra phases when you don't need them.

  • chris - 2011-03-10 17:39

    Hi ek dink die Leeus is betr af in die los spel want Brussow is nog nie reg vir die supper 15 nie hy gaan hom self net beseer en dan maar weer op die kant lyn sit en rugby kyk. Maar dit gaan regtig n' harde en warm game wees en die manne wat die fikste is gaan dit deur knoop en ek persoonlik dink die Leeus gaan dit met vaandels doen. Dit is net jammer oor Taute hy moes is die begin span gewees het maar dalk sien Mitchell its raak wat ons nie sien nie so laat ons maar kyk en sien wat gebeur Sterkte aan altwee die spanne.

  • Superdude - 2011-03-10 17:47

    Agreed, Minnie is the most improved rugby player in South Africa in the last 12 months and is a joy to watch. We have always been blessed with incredible talent at loose forward and Minnie is just another examsple.

  • Cheetah - 2011-03-10 19:28

    Ek dink die Leeus gaan klippe kou die naweek.As dit nie gebeer nie dink ek Herold en Naka moet maar na die seisoen maar hul skills ophang en iemand anders kans gee om weer die Cheetahs te vat en te maak wat die ondersteuners van hul verwag om te doen.Dis is om vir n slag te wen met goeie hardloop(en n goeie skopskoen)RUGBY.

      jan du preeaz - 2011-03-10 20:14

      nee wat spikkel freak, die lions gaan jou spannetjie se tjank aftrap. Toyota slaan hulle "brand" se naam met n' plank om jou kak span te borg

  • Dean - 2011-03-10 23:13

    I'm a sharks fan, but love what you have done for the lions.

  • StefJo - 2011-03-11 07:51

    I really do not think it is about Taute doing much wrong, I just think JM wants to give Kamana a chance to start and see what happens! And, it's just a matter of time before Jantjies starts with his 'man of match' performances...When this happens, other teams are going to be in serious trouble!

      Jimmyboy - 2011-03-11 12:50


  • LeeuvdWestvl - 2011-03-11 08:58

    Wickus is useless as a lock. John is using him to get more mobility on the field, but we yeild scrumming power by playing him in the Locks position, and it takes a real line out option away. Looks like John has set his heart on proofing everyone wrong just like his predesor did with Earl, take the pressure of elton, and let him only play the last 30 min when the game is open, and he can make an Impact, Play Andre to bring stability and better defense first 50 min. Another loss for my lions team looming.

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