Springbok flanker Heinrich Brüssow is a lot more than just a fetcher and is adapting quickly to the stricter interpretation of the breakdown law.
That is the view of Cheetahs coach Naka Drotské ahead of Saturday’s clash against the Highlanders.
Sport 24 reports that the effectiveness of fetching flanks at the breakdown is under the spotlight this year. However, this aspect of the game remains an important factor and the men from Otago can expect a motivated Brüssow on his home turf.
Brüssow’s progress was clear in the Cheetahs’ first two games against the Bulls and Sharks.
Drotské believes the so-called daylight law does not just require fetchers to adapt, but all players.
“Heinrich stole three balls in the second half against the Sharks. Three turnovers makes a big difference during the course of a game,” said Drotské.
“The new law forces all players to adapt, not just Heinrich. If you look at all the games you can clearly see how the guys are finding their feet and that there is still uncertainty.”
It was strange for Brüssow not to get his hand on the loose ball against the Bulls, but he started winning possession again against the Sharks.
The Cheetahs were also instructed not to try and steal balls so that they could keep the penalty count low against the Bulls.
While he believes Brüssow does a lot more than steal possession, the coach does not expect the new laws to trip up the flank.
“He is adapting well and will be completely comfortable after another two or three games. He’s a very smart player and like I told him, he’s not just someone that steals possession. He is also very good with the ball in hand and carries it better than many other flankers in the competition,” said Drotské.
“He also defends better than them and has excellent skills. He should not put too much pressure on himself to steal ball. He is beginning to grasp the new laws and will slowly but surely start winning turnovers at the breakdown again.”
SA referees boss André Watson said earlier that the likes of Brüssow and McCaw would still be able to win turnover ball.
They will just have to play smarter and allow the attacking team to place the ball before pouncing.
15. Riaan Viljoen, 14. Danwel Demas, 13. Lionel Mapoe, 12. Meyer Bosman, 11. Jongi Nokwe, 10. Naas Olivier, 9. Tewis de Bruyn, 8. Frans Viljoen, 7. Juan Smith (captain), 6. Heinrich Brussow, 5. David de Villiers, 4. Nico Breedt, 3. WP Nel, 2. Adriaan Strauss, 1. Wian du Preez
Substitutes: 16. Ryno Barnes, 17. Coenie Oosthuizen, 18. Waltie Vermeulen, 19. Ashley Johnson, 20. Sarel Pretorius, 21. Sias Ebersohn, 22. Hennie Daniller
15. Israel Dagg, 14. Ben Smith, 13. Kenny Lynn, 12. Jason Shoemark, 11. Fetu’u Vainikolo, 10. Michael Hobbs, 9. Jimmy Cowan (captain), 8. Adam Thomson, 7. Alando Soakai, 6. John Hardie, 5. Tom Donnelly, 4. Josh Bekhuis, 3. Clint Newland, 2. Jason Rutledge, 1. Jamie Mackintosh
Substitutes: 16. Jason Macdonald, 17. Chris King, 18. Hayden Triggs, 19. Tim Boys, 20. Sean Romans, 21. Mat Berquist, 22. James Paterson
Referee: Pro Legoete