The Springbok captain, John Smit, has praised Heinrich Brüssow as the find of the year after the young Free State player made the lives of the All Blacks a misery during the Tri-Nations Test at Vodacom Park on Saturday.
Stephen Nell reports for sport24.co.za that Brüssow (flank) was one of several Bok heroes in the victory of 28-19, which could easily have been a record score if Ruan Pienaar (flyhalf) had kicked with greater accuracy.
“I think Heinrich is a phenomenal find of 2009. He celebrated his birthday last week and now he has been named the player of the match. A young player like him couldn’t have asked for more,” said Smit.
“He makes a big difference for us and at the same time makes the lives of our opponents very difficult. Before the series against the British and Irish Lions I already said he was made for the role of fetcher.”
Brüssow was more effective at the breakdown points than New Zealand’s captain, Richie McCaw. South Africa’s loose forwards indeed thrived in the domination that the tight five had from the start.
Bismarck du Plessis (hooker) and Bakkies Botha (lock) were good at dominating, with Victor Matfield (lock) brilliant at the lineouts and at catching the ball at the kickoffs.
New Zealand’s forward coach, Steven Hansen, last week said Brüssow still had much to prove and that South Africa would miss Schalk Burger.
But on Saturday, Hansen admitted that Brüssow had proven himself. “I thought he played very well and was very effective at the breakdown points.”
“South Africa have a very good pack of forwards and for a young guy to be able to come in like that is a dream start. There can be no doubt about his talent.”
The complete domination that the Boks enjoyed in the first half over the All Blacks thanks to their forwards, has not been seen since South Africa’s return from isolation.
New Zealand cracked under pressure and started making mistakes. If the Boks had used their opportunities in the first half, it would have been a bloodbath. Pienaar will have to do extra kicking work with Percy Montgomery (the Bok kicking coach).
When the Kiwis threatened to score a try before half-time, JP Pietersen tackled Sitiveni Sivivatu brilliantly.
The Kiwis, however, remain a proud squad and definitely had the upper hand in the second half. South Africa had to defend well and the one time there was a serious gap in the defence, Conrad Smith scored a try for the All Blacks.
There was much concern when Stephen Donald made it 13-17 but this group of Boks had made it through difficult times before.
The match was won with Jaque Fourie’s try in the 72nd minute, although victory was sealed in the final two minutes, when Morné Steyn made the third penalty kick.
Although much rugby will still be played, this was an excellent start and proves that series win over the Lions was not accidental.Tweet