Worsley plays down Brüssow threat

Joe Worsley doesn’t ‘know much about’ about Heinrich Brüssow but is expecting a challenge from the Cheetahs’ loose forwards.

Worsley was a late call-up for Martyn Williams - whose shoulder injury kept him out of Saturday’s match - and acknowledged he couldn’t focus too much attention on his opponent.

When asked about Brüssow’s abilities the Englishman didn’t single out the discarded Bok flanker for any specific praise, but rather the entire hosts’ unit.

‘I didn’t watch too much Super 14, but the games I saw you always noticed the South African loose forwards,’ Worsley told keo.co.za. ‘They are all big ball-carriers and are a strength of their teams.

‘We’ve done our usual analysis on the opposition but other than that I don’t know too much about him,’ he added.

Worsley is used as a blindside for Wasps, but for England and now the Lions he will be the scavenger on the deck. Being a much taller man than Brüssow, he will be tested thoroughly come ruck time.

‘I try not to think too much about being shifted back to openside,’ said a confident Worsley. ‘I am happy doing either. There may be a slight risk in becoming known as a versatility player, but the two positions are becoming more and more blurred.’

The Cheetahs may hold the Super 14 wooden spoon, but along the way they toppled the Sharks and Crusaders. Due to the short-turnaround time between fixtures, Worsley said the tourists had to focus on their own game rather than the Cheetahs’.

‘We know they have good players, but on top of worrying about them, we have to worry about ourselves. We can’t spend too much time focusing on their play,’ said Worsley.

Worsley’s confidence is justified as he is one of only two players – along with Simon Shaw - in the 38-man party who has won a Test in South Africa. Worsley has fond memories of that day nine years ago in Bloemfontein where the English downed the Boks 27-22, the last time any side from Britain or Ireland has won a Test in this country.

‘That was our first big victory here and set the ball rolling for what was to follow leading up to the World Cup,’ said Worsley. ‘The environment at the stadium wasn’t too intimidating.

‘That would have to be in Kimberley, where I received an orange to the head from someone in the crowd during the warm-up. I’ve had a few things thrown at me in my time, but that was the biggest!’

By Grant Ball, in Bloemfontein