Brüssow starting to show his true ability at Saints

Heinrich Brssow produced a fine assist for Ehren Painter at Gloucester but the TMO decided a try had not been scored (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
Heinrich Brssow produced a fine assist for Ehren Painter at Gloucester but the TMO decided a try had not been scored (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

On the opening day of the season, Heinrich Brüssow produced one of the more mixed displays you will ever see in a Saints shirt.

The South African flanker fluctuated between the sublime and the ridiculous at Gloucester as his side fell to a 27-16 Gallagher Premiership opening-day defeat.

Brüssow's performance was a microcosm of Saints' showing as at times he looked in total control and at others, he played with wild abandon.

He gave away a string of penalties - six in total - two of which were for high tackles.

But he also excelled around the field, with his sensational late chip ahead almost resulting in a try, as Ehren Painter was deemed not to have scored by the TMO.

Six days later, Brüssow once again delivered an all-action display, this time staying on the right side of the referee as Saints beat Harlequins 25-18 at Franklin's Gardens.

And it seems that with a full pre-season now under his belt, the 32-year-old, who joined Saints from Japanese club Docomo Red Hurricanes back in January, is now only going to go from strength to strength in the black, green and gold.

"I'm definitely more settled now and just having a pre-season with the lads was really good," Brüssow said.

"It was nice to get to know all the new guys who came in and the environment is really good.

"It's all really positive and we've got a great bunch of guys so I'm enjoying my time so far.

"In the beginning when I got here, especially coming into the situation where the club was struggling, I was trying to be part of the team but we were losing games so it's a really tough environment to get into.

"Then I got injured and it was really frustrating, but now I've got to work with the guys in pre-season, had a lot of socials and I feel a lot more comfortable now.

"It helps you to settle in and just to focus on what you're good at: the rugby part."

And on the two league games so far, he said: "The first was really disappointing for us.

"I know it was an away game but we really made it difficult for ourselves.

"I'll be the first to put my hand up because I made discipline errors, giving too many penalties away and it really forced us into a difficult situation.

"Some of the high tackles and things like that are not necessary and they are silly things, but it's just that passion - you just want to get involved, but there's no excuses for that.

"But the breakdowns, one or two of them were 50/50 calls but that's part of the game.

"You have to make decisions and I'll be the first to put my hand up to say that wasn't ideal and it put us under pressure in that game.

"It was definitely one of the reasons why we lost the game.

"We worked all the way to get into their half and then a simple thing cost us.

"Against Quins, we didn't play that well because we had a lot of opportunities where we could have scored and put a lot of points on them but we didn't use them.

"But then again, we still won the game and we learned a lot out of that.

"The team is still in a good space, we're positive and we're getting used to one another.

"We've got a lot of new players, new coaches, coaches moving into different positions in the club and we're still trying to build the perfect game we want to play.

"The determination is there and we're really working hard on the training field, which keeps everyone positive."

One of the first games Brüssow watched after linking up with Saints in January was the Champions Cup thrashing at Saracens.

Saints were beaten emphatically by the Barnet-based side on four separate occasions last season.

But they are determined that things will be different when Saracens come calling at the Gardens on Saturday.

"I watched the Saracens game in January in the pub," Brüssow said.

"We actually did well but we couldn't keep the pressure on.

"It was like a wall that broke.

"We were in the game but you have to keep the pressure on and use your opportunities.

"There's lots to work on but the main thing for us is using our opportunities and focusing on ourselves and the game we want to perfect.

"We can't worry too much about them.

"In previous times, we've been so worried about the game they are going to play and we've not focused on ourselves.

"We've got to focus on the things we want to do and be accurate.

"We need to pitch up defensively and be massive out there.

"This is the challenge we can measure ourselves from and we can see if we're improving and moving forward.

"It's going to be a big challenge and we're still learning about one another, but the drive is there.

"We're working hard, the passion is there, it's a home game and we'll have the crowd behind us.

"We've got to be clinical and we can't make too many mistakes.

"We have to use our opportunities. We didn't against Quins but we'll have to against Sarries."