Durban - It’s the battle of the breakdown and the battle of the breakdown specialists as the Cheetahs’ Heinrich Brüssow and the Cell C Sharks’ Marcell Coetzee
will be going head-to-head in Saturday’s Vodacom Super Rugby clash at Kings Park.
According to Sharks' website editor, Michael Marnewick
, Brüssow is back in action from injury following his return from Japan while Coetzee’s energetic efforts have earned him massive praise (as well as two Vodacom Man of the Match awards this season already).
"Heinrich Brussow is a great player, he’s played really well for them," director of rugby Jake White
admits, "and they will get a lot of confidence out of him being back.
"It’s no different to us when we pick our big name players, it gives us a massive boost.
"But we’ve played against the Michael Hoopers, the Liam Gills, the Deon Stegmanns, and the challenge is making sure whoever is in that open side role, must be looked after.
"We have Marcell Coetzee
, so I’m sure they have their concerns as well.
"Marcell has proved himself.
"More and more, his plays sends the right message to the national selectors that they don’t need to look abroad to pick a guy who can do that job when you have one doing the job week in and week out in Super Rugby.
"I would be very surprised if, going forward, he doesn’t get to be seen as the guy who can fulfil that role over anyone they’ve picked from outside.
"Talking nothing away from those who have been picked before, but a guy who is putting his hand up week in and week out the way that he is makes it difficult to overlook his performances."
And having someone attack the breakdown hard, as he does (in concert with Bismarck du Plessis), means regular turnovers which are like gold for a defending team.
Especially when it presents an opportunity to catch the opposition in attacking mode when they’re suddenly required to defend.
"I don’t think the tries they’ve conceded are soft moments at all, but when you’re so focussed on attack and turn the ball over, everyone is running support lines to the ball-carrier," White explains.
"All of a sudden you have no-one behind, so if there is a line break, your focus goes from attack to defence and you don’t have the numbers to make up the defensive line.
"If you look at last year’s success, this year they’ve been a bit unlucky when they’ve turned the ball over.
"That last Crusaders try last week literally came from nothing.
"It’s just one of those balances.
"Every team tries to get the balance.
"Teams who defend all the time try to improve their attack and vice versa."
The Cheetahs were involved in two very high-scoring matches in their last two games, a cumulative total of 169 points which suggests (correctly) a lot of tries and open, running rugby.
But it can be dangerous when you’re caught out.
And that’s something the Cell C Sharks are well-aware of, that they can’t be sucked into a style of play that suits the Cheetahs.
"We generally want to play to our strengths, we know what we’re good at, what works for us.
"We have a massive pack of forwards and probably the strongest scrum in the competition, and we need to stick to that.
"The challenge that we have is if we want to win the competition, we can’t rely only on those things, we need to adapt our game accordingly.
"There were subtle changes to our attack against the Lions, that’s what we have to try and work on: so that every team doesn’t know what to expect from us.
"The difference between a good team and a championship team is that you can’t win this competition doing the same things over and over again, you need to add to your game."Teams:Sharks:
15. Lwazi Mvovo
, 14. Tonderai Chavhanga, 13. S’bura Sithole, 12. Frans Steyn
, 11. JP Pietersen
, 10. Tim Swiel, 9. Charl McLeod, 8. Keegan Daniel
, 7. Jean Deysel
, 6. Marcell Coetzee
, 5. Stephan Lewies
, 4. Willem Alberts
, 3. Jannie du Plessis, 2. Bismarck du Plessis (captain), 1. Tendai Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16. Kyle Cooper
, 17. Dale Chadwick
, 18. Lourens Adriaanse
, 19. Etienne Oosthuizen, 20. Ryan Kankowski
, 21. Stefan Ungerer
, 22. Heimar Williams
, 23. SP Marais Cheetahs:
15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Rayno Benjamin, 11 Hennie Daniller, 10 Elgar Watts, 9 Sarel Pretorius
, 8 Jean Cook
, 7 Boom Prinsloo, 6 Heinrich Brüssow, 5 Francois Uys, 4 Lodewyk de Jager, 3 Nicolaas van Dyk, 2 Adriaan Strauss
(captain), 1 Caylib Oosthuizen
Substitutes: 16 Ryno Barnes, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Rossouw de Klerk, 19 Andries Ferreira, 20 Teboho Mohoje, 21 Shaun Venter
, 22 Riaan Smith, 23 Raymond Rhule