Springboks

Heinrich Brussow 'could've and should've' played more Tests for the Springboks, says Jonathan Kaplan

Heinrich Brussow (Getty Images)
Heinrich Brussow (Getty Images)
  • Former Test referee Jonathan Kaplan believes that flank Heinrich Brussow could have played more for South Africa.
  • Brussow who established himself for the Springboks under Pieter de Villiers, fell out of favour once Heyneke Meyer took over.
  • All-in-all, Brussow won 22 international caps.

Former international Test referee Jonathan Kaplan, a 'massive Heinrich Brussow fan' believes that the flanker, who retired in 2019, was unlucky not to have played more times for the Springboks.

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Speaking in an exclusive and wide-ranging interview with Sport24, Kaplan was recalling several rugby players that he refereed over the years that he thought might have seen more game time in green and gold.

Kaplan says that sadly, perhaps the fact that Brussow was smaller in stature counted against him in the type of players that modern coaches tend to pick.

"I am a massive Heinrich Brussow fan," said Kaplan.

"Unfortunately, he was around in an era where the perception was, even if it’s not a reality, the perception was that they were looking for different types of players."

READ | Jonathan Kaplan recalls 'Bryce Lawrence game': I think he froze

Brussow made his debut for South Africa in 2008 when he came on as a substitute against England on the end of year tour to the United Kingdom.

It was in 2009, however, that he really shone for the Springboks starring in both the Tri-Nations and against the British and Irish Lions.

He then suffered a serious cruciate knee-ligament injury during the 2010 Super Rugby competition while playing for the Cheetahs.

Brussow returned to international rugby in 2011 and played for the Springboks in their controversial quarter-final loss to Australia at the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

Kaplan says Brussow stood out from early in his career.

"No matter who he was playing against, he had the heart of a lion. I think he was a great player and that he could have and should have got more caps," said Kaplan.

Kaplan mentioned Robert Ebersohn as the unluckiest player not to wear green and gold, saying he was "smart, elusive and punched above his weight".

He also believes that Rynhardt Elstadt, although he was capped at international level could have played more saying that he was "one of the toughest men to play the game".

ALSO READ | Jonathan Kaplan on Springbok greats: Os du Randt, Victor Matfield 'stood out'

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