Smit praises Brussow influence
July 25, 2009
Heinrich Brussow has provided a new dynamic in the Springbok back-row © Getty Images
The 23-year-old openside is in his first season as an international, but is making waves despite his small stature. At just 5'11'', Brussow is not a typical South African forward but he has changed the dynamic in the 'Bok's back row since his influential role in their successful Test series against the British & Irish Lions.
Brussow went head-to-head with All Black captain Richie McCaw at Bloemfontein last Saturday, and he came out with the Man of the Match award and his growing reputation intact. His captain is not surprised at the young Cheetahs man's ability to hold his own in such company.
"He's been a phenomenal find of 2009," Smit said. "He's making a big difference for us. He certainly is making life difficult for his opponents. I said it in the lead up to his first selection against the Lions, he's built for that role. Big fat guys play in the front-row, the short guys get to steal ball."
Having done his job admirably by consistently slowing down New Zealand ball during the 28-19 win, Brussow was keen to downplay his own role in the victory. And he was quick to praise McCaw who he says made life equally difficult for him in what he believes was the toughest of his five caps.
"Richie McCaw made life tough for us as well" he said. "It was a hard game and we did well to win it. I think they got frustrated with me but they also have great rucking. We were frustrated at times too with them.
"Playing in front of your home crowd, against the All Blacks, and beating them, it's really amazing. It's definitely a step up from any game I've played and I'd say the next one will be even harder."
Having overlooked Brussow's potential influence in the build up to the Bloemfontein Test, the All Blacks were quick to praise the newcomer with assistant coach Steve Hansen acknowledging the dynamo's contribution.
"He was very good in the tackle area. He's got a fairly good support group around him," he said. "They're a good pack and when you're a young fella and you come into a forward pack like that, it's a dream start. He's obviously got quite a lot of talent, no doubt about that."