Brüssow back for Boks

Heinrich Brüssow will feature for the Springboks for the first time since the 2011 World Cup after being named to start at openside flank against the All Blacks.

Brüssow has generally been out of favour during Heyneke Meyer’s tenure, but he was able to sway the Bok coach after producing a host of influential performances for the Cheetahs during the Vodacom Super Rugby season.

The 29-year-old will start at No 6, with Francois Louw moving to blindside flank in place of the injured Marcell Coetzee.

In all, there were eight changes to the Springboks' match-day squad initially announced on Wednesday, but further alterations were necessitated when wing JP Pietersen strained his hamstring at the afternoon training session at St Peter’s College.

As a result, Cornal Hendricks is elevated from the bench and will start on the right wing, while uncapped Lionel Mapoe will wear the No 23 jersey. Along with Mapoe, prop Vincent Koch is set to make his Test debut should he come off the bench.

Besides the re-shuffle in the loose trio and late switch on the wing, the only other change to the starting lineup is at lock, where Lood de Jager takes over from the injured Victor Matfield.

On the bench, Koch will be joined by Mapoe, Trevor Nyakane, Flip van der Merwe and Warren Whiteley, who could make his first Test appearance in South Africa, in front of his home crowd in Johannesburg.

'Injuries have forced our hand a bit, but we’ve stuck with our planned rotational policy on the bench and it will be great to see what Heinrich, Vincent and Flip can do,' said Meyer. 'The breakdown battle will again be huge and it will be good to see Heinrich and Francois play together. They are versatile players and I'm convinced they will combine perfectly.

'Heinrich has been great this season before he got injured and played his way into contention. As with other players returning from injury in Super Rugby, he deserves an opportunity. We decided it was better to start with him and use Warren as an impact player later in the match.

'It’s also great to see Flip back in the fold. We had a look at Pieter-Steph du Toit but he is not yet 100% match-ready, and Franco Mostert was also discussed but in the end we decided to go with Flip as he will add valuable experience to our bench.

'We planned to bring Trevor, Warren and Cornal back for this match. Trevor and Warren have been playing great rugby this season and Cornal is a superb finisher, as he’s shown so often last year.'

Meyer said the Springboks would face a huge challenge on Saturday as they continue to build towards the World Cup.

'This will be a massive Test – every match against the All Blacks is. We played some great rugby last weekend, but this week we have to put in an 80-minute effort. We have to be especially focused in the last 10 minutes, because New Zealand always finish strongly. They travelled here with us so that negates any advantage we could’ve had at the end of the match.

'The challenge will also be to make a step up in vital areas of the game and get back on the winning track. By not making too many changes this week, we’re giving some combinations the opportunity to settle a bit more. Our youngsters will have to put up their hands on Saturday – I would not have selected them if I didn’t believe they can do the job.'

Springboks – 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Schalk Burger (c), 7 Francois Louw, 6 Heinrich Brüssow, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Beast Mtawarira.
Subs: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Flip van der Merwe, 20 Warren Whiteley, 21 Cobus Reinach, 22 Pat Lambie, 23 Lionel Mapoe.
Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo Images

Post by

Craig Lewis