David Pocock believes Heinrich Brussow should start in the Springbok No 6 jersey when Schalk Burger returns from suspension.
Burger’s ban ends on 22 August, which will make him eligible for the Boks’ away-leg of the Tri-Nations. By then, he would only have played 70 minutes of rugby in nearly four months, while Brussow has had a telling effect on the Boks’ efforts in recent months.
Captain John Smit labelled him ‘the find of 2009′, while Pocock has noted his efforts this year. Although the Western Force flanker clearly holds Burger in high regard, when asked who he thought should start for the Boks in that role, he went with Brussow.
‘I personally think that when Brussow’s been on the field, he’s added another dimension to their game,’ Pocock told keo.co.za. ‘Having said that, Schalk has to be in a Springbok side [when he returns].’
Pocock said the pair would form an intimidating combination on the sides of the scrum, but was also complimentary of Juan Smith’s understated role in the team.
‘They are very different players: Schalk is a big ball-carrier, he’s a massive human being and he crashes into those rucks. I think Brussow has a body-shape that allows him to be a lot more accurate at the breakdown, as he’s more like George [Smith] and Phil [Waugh] – shorter and well built. Brussow gets around – he gets to a lot of breakdowns and is very busy.
‘I think it would be a pretty lethal combination,’ continued Pocock. ‘But then again I think Juan Smith offers you that lineout option. It’s pretty good to have that selection problem, having those three guys fighting for two spots in future.’
For large periods of the international season, Robbie Deans has selected three openside flankers in the Wallabies’ 22. That number is expected to drop to two when the team is announced on Thursday – with Waugh falling out of squad – and Pocock remaining as Smith’s deputy for the Newlands Test.
Pocock said Deans keeps his options open and there is no clear mark when he could enter the fray at Newlands, but it could be an emotional moment if he gets on.
The South African-born fetcher, who grew up in Zimbabwe, admits to having supported the Boks in his youth. However, there is no doubt to where his allegiances now lie.
‘It is really exciting [facing the Boks], but I’m not torn in any way,’ says Pocock. ‘Obviously, I’m all for Australia, but just playing against South Africa, knowing how passionate they are about their rugby, and how well they’ve gone in the last few years – I realise it’s a massive game. We are all pretty pumped.
‘We’ll have to wait and see if there’s some emotion on Saturday.’
By Grant Ball, in Cape Town