Rassie sets record straight on Brown

PUBLISHED: April 10, 2008

Tony Brown – and everyone else in the camp – knows exactly what his role in the Vodacom Stormers set-up is.

That was the clear message from Stormers coach Rassie Erasmus when he announced his side for the Super 14 scrap against the Cheetahs at Newlands on Saturday.

The former All Black flyhalf joined the Stormers on the overseas leg of their campaign and has played an important role when he came off the bench in the past few games.

Constant media speculation on Brown’s position in the side has led Erasmus to make a statement on Wednesday.

“Tony knew right from the beginning what his role was going to be in the team and what role he was going to play.

“He is not pushing for a Springbok place. He is not eligible to play for the Springboks. There are many questions about who is going to play when – that is being communicated and everything is in place.

“We are having a lovely time having him here, not from the coaching staff only, but also the players. Tony is helping the guys gaining experience from the way he sees stuff.

“I can assure you when the time is right for him to play he will play. In the previous two games he came from the bench and had a big impact on the game.

“He will have a start, but we will decide in the future when that will be. He understands it like that and the whole team understands it like that.”

Brown is still on the bench, where he will be joined by veteran scrumhalf Bolla Conradie, who takes over from the injured Conrad Hoffmann.

“He (Conradie) had a tough four weeks. He had that calf injury on tour and had to come back,” explained Erasmus.

“Then we had the bye the previous week and Bolla then went down with flu on Sunday. But he was at training on Wednesday.

“His calf is fine and hopefully he won’t have to play too long on Saturday because he was a bit ill. But Ricky (Januarie) is fully fit.

“Conrad is also out for the next four weeks with a groin injury and that is why Dewaldt (Duvenhage) also trained with us this week.”

The coach brought Adriaan Fondse back into the starting XV in place of Ross Skeate, who started with Andries Bekker against the Western Force in Perth.

He explained he opted for the physical presence of Fondse to start with, but that he will be introducing the athleticism of Skeate a bit later.

“We used three locks over the past Super 14 and spread the game time evenly, although Andries by far played the most.

“Ross and Adriaan have been really filling each others shoes nicely. This specific game is a game where will need that little bit more grunt.

“I think Ross has been giving that to us, but maybe the first half – especially with the way the Cheetahs play – will be a more tight game. Ross is a bit more athletic and he will come on in the second half at either five or four lock.”