'Bryce Can Get Touchy'
BYLINE: MIKE GREENAWAY
Durban: At the weekend, Heinrich Brussow wrote an economics exam at university in Bloemfontein, with no inkling of what he would be up to seven days later, but here he is now, facing the examination of his life in his run-on Springbok debut in the first Test against the British and Irish Lions.
"From hell to heaven in the space of one week," the 22-year-old laughed yesterday. "No prizes for guessing which test I would prefer to take!"
The Free Stater was called up on Sunday to join the squad after a final ruling was made on Schalk Burger's calf problem, and he was promptly slotted straight into the starting line-up. Burger is expected to be available for selection for next week's second Test.
Speaking of studying, the Lions will be hard at work on their video footage of their tormentor-in-chief so far on this tour. Brussow single-handedly got the Cheetahs back into their match against the Lions, after they went 20-0 down in 18 minutes, by plundering ball at the breakdowns.
Afterwards, the Lions accused the referee of not policing the breakdowns and Brussow of having scant regard for the law.
"Well, when they take a good look at the footage, they will see that I was perfectly legal," the diminutive flank said. "I am a small guy and that means I can get into places the big guys can't.
"I am not sure what the Lions will be thinking about my inclusion but hopefully they will remember Bloemfontein and that will give us a mental advantage."
What is certain is that the Lions will be asking Kiwi referee Bryce Lawrence to watch out for alleged Brussow illegalities. "I am sure they will," he laughs. "And I must admit that Bryce can get touchy with the breakdowns.
"We know him well from the Super 14. It is a fine line a fetcher has to tread - you have to be bold but you have to be careful, especially with three points against you a possibility if you transgress. You walk a tightrope."
Brussow said he was feeling the weight of expectation.
"It's huge. Slowing ball down is one of the keys to success in Test rugby because it gives your defensive line more time to get organised.
"They have a lot of really good, in-form backline players, like Brian O'Driscoll and Jamie Roberts, so we don't want them getting too much ball on the front foot through quick recycles.
"At the same time, if I can turn over their ball, we have a superb backline that is very dangerous on the counter-attack. So if I give the guys an opportunity on both counts I will have done my job. I have confidence in my ability to deliver."
Bok flank and fellow Cheetah Juan Smith was excited by Brussow's selection: "The thing that I respect about Brussowtjie is that he was consitently outstanding for a Cheetahs side that struggled in the Super 14. …