New signing Brüssow can't wait to get stuck in at Saints

Heinrich Brüssow spent last Saturday afternoon keeping his head down in a Northampton pub.

Friday, 26th January 2018, 7:00 am
Heinrich Brssow was unveiled by Saints on Monday (picture: Roberto Payne/Northampton Saints)

He had left his new house to watch his new Saints team-mates on the television as they took on Saracens in a Champions Cup clash.

But after a good start, which saw the black, green and gold take the lead on two occasions, old problems resurfaced and Saints were eventually well beaten.

"I was watching it on TV, in a local pub, getting the atmosphere," Brüssow explained.

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Brssow is happy to be a Saint

"It was good, the first 10 minutes, the people were stoked up.

"But then I sat there in a corner, hiding."

That didn't dampen Brüssow's enthusiasm for life in Northampton, though.

Instead, he has seen the positives of the earlier performances in 2018, with Saints having defeated Gloucester and, in hugely impressive fashion, Clermont Auvergne.

The South African star can't wait to play his part at Franklin's Gardens

He may not have been able to train fully at Franklin's Gardens yet - Brüssow believes that will begin next week - but he has seen plenty of the first-team squad.

And he feels a new chapter is about to be written.

"We started well last weekend, we played with great intensity, typical Saints," said Brüssow, who was unveiled as a Northampton player on Monday, following the conclusion of his commitments with Japanese club NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes.

"Unfortunately, we've been a bit unlucky and the bounce of the ball here and there would have helped us to stay in games.

Brssow is happy to be a Saint

"After losing game after game, it puts pressure on any team and we slowly started losing confidence.

"When you don't have that confidence and other teams do, it's always difficult to get yourself back in it.

"We've turned the page at the meetings I've attended in trying new stuff and we did well the first two games of the year.

"We really did well against Clermont, but against Sarries it was a difficult game, too much pressure and we couldn't absorb it.

The South African star can't wait to play his part at Franklin's Gardens

"It was like an old bruise coming back, they pumped us and we're not happy with that."

Brüssow won't be able to help Saints banish their Saracens demons when they travel to Sale Sharks in the Anglo-Welsh Cup on Saturday.

But he doesn't believe it will take him long to get up to speed after recovering from the groin injury that has kept him out since September.

"I picked my injury up at the end of September and got the operation done in October so I've basically been out for three months now," the flanker explained.

"It was a groin injury and I got it repaired.

"I've slowly gone through my rehab processes and started with my running and getting fit.

"I'm basically 100 per cent on track and if all goes well, hopefully I can play next week or the week after.

"You're coming in with a new team, new structures, a new league, but I'll work really hard and do what I do.

"Luckily I'm not a 10, who makes a lot of decisions, so it's a bit different and I'm really keen to play.

"I don't think coming back from injury will affect me that much.

"Maybe I'll get a bit more tired in terms of game fitness because I haven't been playing, but the weather can help because it will be a bit slower."

Brüssow signed for Saints back in September as the club sought to fill the gaps in the squad left by Calum Clark and reigning player of the year Louis Picamoles.

It was been a long wait for the Northampton fans to see their new man in action.

And it has been the same for the player himself.

"It's been a big wait," said Brüssow, who was spending his time off this week shifting furniture into his new home.

"I still had a job to do at my previous club and I was contracted with them so I had to be 100 per cent loyal.

"My mindset was fully committed to my Japanese club but in the back of my mind I knew I had this challenge at a new club.

"I've been watching the games and you are involved but you're not involved.

"You're worried about what Saints are doing so I was involved from afar."

Brüssow, who has won 23 caps for South Africa, enjoyed his stay in Japan, where he headed after leaving Super Rugby side the Cheetahs in 2013.

But he wanted to finish his career with a fresh challenge.

"I spent five years in Japan and I really enjoyed it but I just needed something new in my career," the 31-year-old said.

"I'm probably not going to play for too long any more so I wanted something to get me going and put pressure on me.

"I wanted to experience the rugby in Europe and at a big club like the Saints.

"I'm happy to be here."

So how long does Brüssow believe he will stay at Saints?

"I only wanted to be in Japan for a year and I stayed there five years so it's difficult for me to say exactly," he said.

"I don't want to play too long any more so it won't be too long, but we'll see."

Brüssow's immediate aim will be to have an influence on the field at Saints.

And the fact he has not been thrown straight into action due to his recovery from injury could help him hit the ground running in more impressive fashion when he does get to play.

"It's helped to get to know how things work at the club," he said.

"I've been to a few meetings and training sessions and I've started running next to the field, looking at lineouts and things like that.

"It's been good to get used to things here and hopefully on Monday I'll be running with the boys."