Finding the most fetching fetcher

2014-05-04 15:00

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Heinrich Brüssow and other world-class fetchers will always operate on the fringes of rugby law.

But due to the good form of Francois Louw, who plays for English club Bath, Brüssow has not featured in Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer’s plans.

Fitness permitting, Louw will still be Meyer’s first choice when South Africa clash with Wales in Durban on June 14.

Brüssow last played for the Boks in the 9-11 loss against Australia in the 2011 Rugby World Cup quarterfinal in Wellington, New Zealand.

Meyer has not included him in any of his squads since he took over from Pieter de Villiers, something former Springbok loose forward Rob Louw

disagrees with.

“I believe Brüssow and Louw are much better than Richie McCaw at this stage and I think New Zealanders would agree with me in this case,” Louw said.

“It’s quite sad that Meyer hasn’t looked at Brüssow, saying he is too small. Jake White used to say he didn’t have space for small fetchers, but his thinking has changed in that regard. Meyer did say he would look at Brüssow in European conditions, but we are lucky to have the ilk of fetchers that we have.”

Former All Black and now University of KwaZulu-Natal director of rugby John Mitchell does not feel Brüssow has been given a raw deal.

“We need to see if he can sustain his form for the rest of the [Super Rugby] competition. It would be only through this, that we can see if his standards are high or if they have dipped,” Mitchell said.

Height will always be a disadvantage for Brüssow, but his display against the Sharks in a losing cause in Durban, where he took on excellent operators in Marcell Coetzee and Bismarck du Plessis, was blistering. That game and a similar performance against the Stormers last week was a reminder of his qualities, said Louw.

“When he played against the Sharks, he dominated everything. It is often said that one guy should not be very involved, but in his short stint, he has proved the value he can add to the Boks should he be picked,” Louw said.

Mitchell said Brüssow was still a quality player, but injuries and lack of game time against the Australasian sides have counted against him.

According to Mitchell, these are the teams that will test his readiness.

“Those sides are the ones that will prove if he is ready because their breakdown work is far more efficient and refined. He has not played in the full competition to prove himself,” Mitchell said.

“They often focus on the ball skills of the individual and there is an adherence to the basics, irrespective of the level of the game, with superb cleaning out being one of them.”

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