Currie Cup

Drotske praises Brussow after Lions performance

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Overlooked Free State Cheetahs flanker Heinrich Brussouw received accolades from both camps after the British and Irish Lions’ close 26-24 win over the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Saturday.

Cheetahs coach Naka Drotske, in rueing the three missed penalties by his side and the two soft tries they conceded within the first nine minutes, said that he was particularly proud of his three loose forwards – and added that he thought Brussow played well.

Drotske would not be drawn on the fact that Brussow was overlooked for the Springbok squad, but said “he’ll get his chance, there is no doubt about that.”

“Brussouw played very well,” British and Irish Lions captain Paul O’Connell remarked after saying that the Lions perhaps neglected to get enough players to the point of breakdown.

“We have to get numbers there and we have to get low down,” O’Connell said, “South African teams are good there (at the breakdowns). Turnovers can kill you and take a lot of momentum out.”

His coach Ian McGeechan was unhappy that his side got themselves into a good position but that it “didn’t go as well as it could have thereafter.”

McGeechan said it was a much tougher match than against the Golden Lions on Wednesday.

“We knew it would get progressively tougher (on tour), but we also have to keep in mind that we gave every player a start in the first three matches.

” That was a challenge for us to come out and win,” he said. Drotske was happy with his side generally. But he had special praise for the three loose forwards.

“I thought they were superb.”

The Lions had performed well at the breakdown in their first two matches, he pointed out. “It is one of their strengths, and I though it went well today,” he said.

The World Cup winning hooker in 1995, who knows what goes on in the scrum, said he rated Andrew Sheridan as one of the top loosehead props in the game.

It was obvious that the Cheetahs struggled against him. Drotske admitted he didn’t think his side could come back from being 20-0 down – but in the end it was very, very close as Louis Strydom’s 77th minute drop attempt flew just wide.

Sapa

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