Brüssow back as Cheetahs change
Brüssow back as Cheetahs changeSHARE
The return to Super Rugby of Springbok Heinrich Brüssow was confirmed on Wednesday when the Cheetahs named their team to face the Sharks.
Second from last on the standings, the Cheetahs will be looking for only their second win of the season when they travel to Durban on Saturday.
And the return of Brüssow, in place of the injured Pieter Labuschagne, will be crucial to their cause.
He fractured his toe while playing club rugby in Japan earlier this year and Brüssow's only rugby in Cheetahs colours this year was for the Free State Vodacom Cup team last week.
Labuschagné injured his groin in the 31-52 loss to the Crusaders last week.
Brüssow will come into the team in his place – starting at openside flank, with Johannes Prinsloo fulfilling the blindside role this week.
Brussow’s inclusion comes as no surprise after he played the full 80 minutes last weekend for the Vodacom Cup side in their loss to Western Province in Cape Town.
“The idea was that he would only play for 40 to 50 minutes, but he looked really fit and put in a solid game,” coach Naka Drotske said.
“We are glad to have him back in the thick of things, especially with Lappies out injured. He [Brussow] will be a key factor at the breakdown area this weekend.”
Flyhalf Johan Goosen, who was concussed against the Crusaders last week, is also unavailable for selection.
Elgar Watts will start in his place at No.10, with Riaan Smith coming onto the bench as backline cover in the spot vacated by Watts' promotion.
Goosen was taken off in the 15th minute of the game last week, leaving Watts to fulfil the flyhalf role, something he did with great gusto.
“Naturally you want someone in that sort of position that is 100 percent fit to play,” Drotske said.
“Elgar has done well whenever he came onto the field the last couple of weeks.
“He has not only kicked well at goal, but showed that his ball distribution to the rest of the backline is on par. We are confident that he will do well.”
There is also a change in the front row, where Caylib Oosthuizen will start at loosehead prop ahead of Springbok discard Trevor Nyakane – who drops down to the bench.
In the final change to the matchday squad Raymond Rhule, who has recovered from his ankle injury, comes onto the bench in the place of Howard Mnisi.
Cheetahs backline coach Hawies Fourie deflected criticism of his team for continuing with Springbok Sevens player Rayno Benjamin at inside centre, ahead of a specialist midfielder like Mnisi – who has now dropped out of the matchday 23 altogether after bit-part roles of the bench.
"Rayno Benjamin is playing very well," Fourie told this website.
"His defence is good and is one of the better players in our team at the moment.
"We are very happy with Rayno's performances."
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 Johannes Prinsloo, 6 Heinrich Brüssow, 5 Francois Uys, 4 Lodewyk de Jager, 3 Nicolaas van Dyk, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Caylib Oosthuizen.
Replacements: 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.
Date: Saturday, April 19
Venue: Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
Kick-off: 15.00 (13.00 GMT)
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Craig Joubert (South Africa), Marius Jonker (South Africa)
TMO: Deon van Blommenstein (South Africa)
By Jan de Koning