Heinrich Brüssow's influence at the breakdown could be what earns the Cheetahs a win over the Stormers in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
The Cheetahs haven't been the same force in 2014 that they were in 2013. Part of the reason for their decline has been a change of tactics, and another contributing factor has been the absence of Brüssow.
The specialist fetcher has made a big impact since returning from injury. It may not have been enough to earn the Cheetahs a win against the Sharks last week, but it could be what decides the battle against the Stormers, another South African side languishing at the bottom of the Vodacom Super Rugby log.
The Stormers have persisted with Nizaam Carr at No 6, who is not a traditional openside flanker. The Cape side does have one of the best fetchers in the competition in Deon Fourie, although he has been forced to play at hooker given the number of injuries to the Stormers' front-rankers.
The Cheetahs will be more competitive at the tackle, and Brüssow should have a big say in proceedings.
HEAD TO HEAD
Super Rugby overall: Cheetahs 2 Stormers 8
In Bloemfontein: Cheetahs 2 Stormers 3
BRUSSOW'S STATS THAT MATTER
18 – The number of tackles he made in Round 10 (Rank 2)
4 – The number of turnovers he made in Round 10 (Rank 1)
Source: Vodacom Stats App
Cheetahs – 15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Raymond Rhule, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Rayno Benjamin, 11 Willie le Roux, 10 Elgar Watts, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Boom Prinsloo, 7 Jean Cook, 6 Heinrich Brüssow, 5 Francois Uys, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Maks van Dyk, 2 Adriaan Strauss (c), 1 Caylib Oosthuizen.
Sub: 16 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Rossouw de Klerk, 19 Waltie Vermeulen, 20 Teboho Mohoje, 21 Shaun Venter, 22 Riaan Smith, 23 Cornal Hendricks.
Stormers – 15 Jaco Taute, 14 Damian de Allende, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Jean de Villiers (c), 11 Devon Williams, 10 Peter Grant, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Siya Kolisi, 6 Nizaam Carr, 5 Michael Rhodes, 4 Ruan Botha, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Deon Fourie, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Subs: 16 Stephan Coetzee, 17 Oliver Kebble, 18 Brok Harris, 19 Jurie van Vuuren, 20 Schalk Burger, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Kurt Coleman, 23 Kobus van Wyk.
Photo: Carl Fourie/Gallo Images