Springbok pickpocket Heinrich Brüssow has hardly seen any game-time this year as he has been sidelined by injury, but the ball thief from Bloemfontein is confident that he will hit his stride in time for the World Cup.
Brüssow made his return to the highest level of the game against the Wallabies in Durban last weekend and showed some encouraging form in his time on the park, but Springbok fans will be anxious to see him back at full fitness as soon as possible - starting with the final Tri-Nations clash with the All Blacks in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.
The hard-working Cheetahs flank rose to fame thanks to his impressive skills at the breakdown and his ability to compete for the ball and win turnovers, which is what the Springbok management will be expecting from him this weekend.
Brüssow was asked about the importance of the second player arriving at the breakdown in a question and answer session on SA Rugby's official website and his response revealed just how important teamwork is in this vital aspect of the game.
"Once the first guy gets to the ruck, the second guy is not allowed to play the ball. We need to ensure that the first two players who get there knock the opposition back and thereby contest for the ball," explained Brüssow.
A major question mark over the star loose forward is whether he is fit enough to last the pace at the World Cup with his limited time on the pitch this season, but Brüssow said that the hit-out against Australia had been encouraging and explained that he is being carefully handled by the Springbok medical staff.
He said: "I've been out for a good while, but it was nice to start a Test again and my match fitness can only improve from here on in.
"Our medical team have been working very hard on all of our conditioning and we obviously take all the possible precautions with strapping and timing my workload to ensure I stay fit for the duration of the World Cup," added Brüssow.
Despite the obvious disappointment of losing at home to Australia so close to the start of the defence of their World Cup title, Brüssow seemed confident that the Springboks are quite close to getting things right ahead of the global showpiece.
"I thought we did some things very well and other things we can improve on. We were not happy with the result, but it's not all doom and gloom," he commented.
If the Boks are to avoid their first-ever Tri-Nations whitewash by getting over the line against the All Blacks this weekend they will need Brüssow at the height of his powers, and there is no denying that their World Cups hopes will be all the brighter if he comes through the clash unscathed and in fine form.
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