Brenden Nel - SuperSport
Johannesburg - The Free State Cheetahs are facing a massive fight to keep their Springbok fetcher Heinrich Brüssow in Bloemfontein after it emerged that Western Province have made a massive offer for him.
Brüssow is widely regarded as one of the best fetchers in the world, and is a shoo-in for the World Cup squad, but his contract with the Cheetahs ends at the end of this season and he has become a major target for other sides.
Western Province have, according to SuperSport.com’s sources, made an offer between R2.5 million and R3 million for the flanker per year to get him to make the move across to Cape Town.
But the Cheetahs are fighting fire with fire, with a consortium of businessmen apparently trying to sway Brüssow with a decent offer to stay, working along with the Cheetahs in their negotiations with the flanker.
There is also interest from other teams, both in South Africa and abroad for Brüssow’s services.
Western Province’s offer was set to expire this week, but it is not known if Brüssow has made up his mind whether to stay or accept the offer.
Cheetahs coach Naka Drotske told SuperSport.com that he was hoping to keep Brüssow, but could not make any further comment at this stage.
“We have made an offer to him, and we haven’t heard back yet, so at this stage this is all I know,” Drotske told SuperSport.com, “Of course we would want to keep him, he is a world class player and we want him to remain in Bloemfontein.”
This is the second Cheetahs player that has been targeted by Western Province, who look set to go on a spending spree to try and bolster their ranks for next year’s Super 15 competition.
Cheetahs fullback/wing Riaan Viljoen has also been linked with a move to Cape Town, after reports about private negotiations between him and Western Province Director of coaching Rassie Erasmus.
Brüssow was not named amongst the 21 injured players injured for the Castle Tri Nations series which starts later this month, with indications that he may play a role before the World Cup starts in the Springbok plans.
The flanker has not enjoyed the best of seasons, and was injured three times in the Vodacom Super Rugby series this year.