The Vodacom Stormers will be wary of the Cheetahs brilliant flanker Heinrich Brüssow when the two meet in their final Vodacom Super 14 match of the season in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
Captain Luke Watson, who has been in sublime form himself this year at No 8 for the Stormers, called the Cheetahs ball poacher a “phenomenal player” this week. He said the Cheetahs would be a tough nut to crack on their own field. The Stormers are on 12th place on the log while the Cheetahs are languishing at the bottom. Both teams will be keen to finish an unsuccessful campaign on a high note.
“We had a bumpy ride up to now. We have been unfortunate in many situations. The Cheetahs are one of those sides you can never write off because they have some tradition of never giving up and I think that is admirable.
“They’ve got some phenomenal players in that squad and some real stars who will be in Springbok contention when the squad is announced. There are certain individuals in the side that we are going to target but the Cheetahs at home, no matter who are in the team and what side they field, is always going to be a tough side.
“It’s a team based on pride and tradition and at home it is always a tough game.”
Turning to Brüssow Watson said he was a phenomenal player. “He is one of the better openside flankers in the competition at the moment.
“Having said that, the loose-trio of the Cheetahs is a very good loose-trio. The tight five is a very good tight five and they have got some dangerous backline players too.”
When asked about his own form, Watson modestly said people should be asking his coach about that. “We have to sit down and look at the criteria and he’s got to give me a mark out of ten.
“I have been happy so far. Obviously there is room for improvement, but there is one game left on Saturday.”
Coach Rassie Erasmus, himself a former Cheetahs and Stormers loosie, said the Stormers had a discussion about the dangers that Brüssow poses. “We had a chat about Brüssow.
“It is his third Super 14. He started playing when he was 19 when I was still there. The funny thing that nobody is seeing is he has actually been playing eight man for the last five games, which is quite interesting to me.
“And he is also creating quite a number of turnovers there. Luke is also playing eight man, so it will be a great contest. Nobody has a doubt that Brüssow is a great fetcher and Luke is a great fetcher. It’s going to be awesome, but it is not just about those two.
“Duane (Vermeuelen) and Hendro (Scholtz) are also fetchers. Their inside centre is a fetcher and their hooker fetches, so it is not just those two guys.If you just focus on them the other guys beat will steal the ball.”
Erasmus said he was not familiar with the referee, but added: “If you are 11 and 14 on the log you will get the new referees, so that should be interesting for us and we need to handle it. But its going to be a great contest and I look forward to the breakdown.”