Former Springbok flank Heinrich Brüssow signed a deal with Northampton Saints last September and will finally turn out for the English club in the coming weeks.
The forgotten 31-year-old openside flank‚ who redefined the position in South Africa between 2008-2011‚ has spent most of the last five years playing in Japan with NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes while also featuring in Super Rugby for the Cheetahs for the past decade.
He is still young enough to play Test rugby‚ but untimely injuries coupled with former Bok coach Heyneke Meyer’s preference for bigger looseforwards‚ prematurely ended Brüssow’s international career.
He brings considerable experience with him to Franklin’s Gardens‚ having also been capped 23 times by the Springboks – three of those appearances coming against the British & Irish Lions in 2009.
And Brüssow is now relishing the prospect of a new challenge in the Aviva Premiership and linking up with his new Saints teammates.
“It’s great to be here‚” he said.
“It’s been a few months now that I’ve been waiting to come‚ and I’m very excited to get to work on the training field and get involved with the squad.
“I really enjoyed my time in Japan but I am at a stage in my career where I need a new challenge‚ and coming to Europe and playing in some of the best competitions in club rugby is something that is very special.
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“The Saints is a fantastic Club with big traditions and I’m really excited to get to know all the English cultures and learn what the Aviva Premiership is all about.
“There is a lot of talent in the squad and I can’t wait to get out and start playing with them.”
A former SA Rugby Young Player of the Year‚ Brüssow twice won the Currie Cup with the Free State Cheetahs‚ but it was during the British & Irish Lions tour of South Africa in 2009 that he really burst into the limelight.
After a barnstorming performance for his franchise against the Lions‚ Brüssow featured for the Springboks in all three Tests‚ with South Africa winning the series 2-1 and his dynamic and tenacious play – particularly at the breakdown – earning him praise from all corners.
His international debut came on English soil at Twickenham back in 2008‚ where he came off the bench to lock horns with Saints skipper Dylan Hartley in an emphatic 42-6 win for South Africa.
“We’re delighted that Heinrich is now finally at Franklin’s Gardens and I can’t wait to see what he can do in the Black‚ Green and Gold‚” said Saints technical coaching consultant Alan Gaffney.
“He is a player with heaps of experience who has shown his class year in‚ year out.
“He will be an invaluable asset for us as we look to move up the Aviva Premiership table in the second half of the season‚ and our younger players will look to learn a lot from him – especially from his play at the breakdown.”