Have we forgotten what Schalk Burger has done for south Africa and do we not always use the adage form is temporary and class is permanent? Why then is it almost impossible for any South African to believe that he should start on the flank for South Africa in Australasia. The answer: Heinrich Brussow; by far the find of the season, not only locally but world wide as well. Every year or so a world class player performs modern miracles and through a string of performances makes the world stand up and take notice.
Dan Carter, Johnny Wilkinson and even Schalk Burger at the beginning of their careers were ear marked for greatness. It was just a feeling in the air; an intangible quality that made them one of the first picks in anyone’s world side. What Heinrich Brussow has done over past month and a half is akin to what these great players did and the question we have to ask now is who will Peter De Villiers pick going into the most important tour of his career.
Schalk at his best is a wrecking ball who tears into the opposition with his rucking, tackling and barn storming runs. Brussow is nowhere near the runner or defender Burger is and he isn’t an international lineout option, whereas Burger is a proven jumper at the back of the lineout. Burger does have his downfalls; he is a target to all referees with his exuberance and Samsonite blonde locks, he gives away too many penalties through ill discipline and he has started to lose too many balls in the contact situation.
Brussow is the best fetcher in the world at the moment and provides better balance to the loose trio, Spies and Smith do the running and the jumping whilst Brussow gets down and dirty stealing balls like a kleptomaniac squirrel in a nut shop.
The real trip is using these two in tandem, but how? Schalk is no impact player and the longer he is on the field the better he becomes. Brussow could be utilised off the bench but then the Boks will miss the penalties and turnovers he wins in the first half where they are arguably better and have scored more points all their tests this year.
It’s a decision I’m glad I don’t have to make. Peter De Villiers has a completely fit squad which hasn’t happened in many a Sprinbok year. The money says Brussow will start as his form and effect on the game have been integral to the Bok’s success recently, but De Villiers loves springing surprises. What I do know is that the Springboks are in a perfect opportunity to clinch the Tri-nations title for a third time and beginning what could be a golden age of Springbok rugby.