Russell, Des Fountain in serious doubt

PUBLISHED: April 16, 2007

Vodacom Stormers wing Brent Russell is in doubt for Saturday’s Vodacom Super 14 game at Newlands against the Blues.

Russell pulled a hamstring after scoring a great try in the fourth minute of the 49-12 defeat to the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Saturday.

He had to leave the field after about 21 minutes and Dylan des Fountain took over at left wing. Coach Kobus van der Merwe said the medical team would have a look at Russell on Monday. Russell could be out for three weeks.

More bad news for Stormers fans is that Des Fountain, Russell’s obvious replacement after his solid performance on Saturday, is also set to miss the Blues game.

He was on crutches on Sunday after sustaining an ankle injury. “It doesn’t look good. We doubt that Dylan would play on Saturday,” commented Van der Merwe.

Egon Seconds played well for Vodacom WP against the Cheetahs on Saturday and scored two tries. He could be in contention for a start against the Blues.

The coach said captain Luke Watson was replaced in the second half in order to give him a bit of a break. Joe van Niekerk took over at No 8, with Justin Melck shifting to the flank.

“We were for all accounts out of the game and we wanted to give Joe a run. Luke has been playing all the games. He has featured in all the games so we thought it was a chance to look at the combination of Schalk, Melckie and Joe.

“I thought during that 15 minute spell towards the end when JP came on we played really well. There was some nice line breaks and we came back, but it is tough when you get out-muscled like that.”

Van der Merwe says the physical power of the Bulls was just too much for his side and added the two tries the Bulls scored just before and after halftime was critical in the outcome of the game.

“I said to the guys if the score is 13-10 at halftime we are in with a chance, then all of a sudden it is a 13-point swing. Those two lapses of concentration cost you dearly at this level. I take my hat of to the Bulls.

“I think they were absolutely superb and we must give them credit. There are no excuses. We got stuffed up properly.”

The coach said the fact his team was starved of the ball led to their downfall and he was full of praise for the physical power of the Bulls.

“You can’t play without the ball. You can’t be out-muscled in every department. It is very simple. You must look at that. They had 66 or 68% of the possession – you just cannot play without the ball and then the little bit of possession you have is in your own territory.

“You don’t need to be a brain surgeon to work that out. That is what happens to you when you play teams like the Bulls. They get into your 22 and they start mauling and pick and going they are just so much stronger and bigger you can’t stop them.

“Two of their tries came from picking and going and mauling. What do you say? What do you do? You don’t have the muscle to stop them.”