The Cheetahs' Springbok stalwart Heinrich Brüssow will make his comeback to competitive rugby after more than four months on the sidelines.
Cheetahs coach Naka Drotské, speaking to this website in a telephone interview from the team's training base in the holiday resort of Queenstown, said the 26-year-old will start in Invercargill.
"We have been very lucky and there are no new injuries," Drotské said, adding: "Heinrich [Brüssow] will be ready for this weekend and he will probably play about 30 minutes."
The Bok flank, Brüssow, underwent surgery to his shoulder after he suffered an injury in a Currie Cup encounter with Griquas in October and was expected to be sidelined for about six months.
It was the second time last year that Brüssow was injured. He also missed a long spell towards the end of Super Rugby season and the first four Currie Cup games because of a knee injury.
Brüssow's role in the Round Four Super Rugby outing will be vital against a team known to stack the numbers at the breakdown.
Add to that the fact that the conditions in one of the southernmost cities in the world - located in the cloudiest area of New Zealand - is not conducive to expansive rugby, means the Cheetahs may well have to change tactics this week.
"They [the Highlanders] are certainly very different to the Chiefs," Drotské said of the defending champions - who smashed the Cheetahs 45-3 last Saturday.
"They are very physical, especially at the breakdown - if you want to beat them you will have to be very physical."
The Cheetahs mentor admitted Brüssow will play a big role at the breakdown.
"That is the reason why we selected him," Drotské said, adding: "We have to slow down the New Zealand teams' ball [at the breakdown]."
He said the Cheetahs tactics will depend entirely on the weather on Saturday.
With rain predicted for almost every day this week - with Thursday the exception - and temperatures set to plummet into single digits - the Cheetahs can expect a chilly reception at Rugby Park.
"We do have [Johan] Goosen at No.10, so if he must kick we can play a kicking game, but he also gives us the option of an expansive game," Drotské said, when asked about the expected conditions.
By Jan de Koning
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