Pocock sidelined for six weeks
February 17, 2010
Injured stars Cameron Shepherd, Richard Brown and David Pocock were celebrating a try in a trial two weeks ago © Getty Images
Western Force's injury crisis has deepened significantly with the news that Wallabies flanker David Pocock and front rower Richard Brown will both miss the next six weeks, while the ARU has vetoed a move to bring in former star Scott Staniforth as cover.
Pocock will miss nearly half of the Super 14 season after rupturing a tendon in the middle finger of his left hand against the Brumbies in round one last Friday night. He sustained the injury in the second half but played out the remainder of the match.
Subsequent scans determined the only course of action to ensure a full recovery was to have the finger permanently set in a splint for the next six weeks. The recently appointed Force vice-captain will not undergo surgery as it would take just as long to heal.
Brown has received a similar prognosis in terms of matches on the sidelines after dislocating his shoulder against the Brumbies. Brown has avoided the need for a shoulder reconstruction which would have ruled him out of the entire season however the injury will require a carefully managed rehabilitation programme and review.
Meanwhile, the club's attempt to bring in their 2006 player of the year Staniforth as an injury replacement has been blocked by the ARU because he is under contract to Japanese side Yokogawa - even though he's back in Western Australia for the next few months for the Japanese off-season.
Force coach John Mitchell spoke of his annoyance at "the number of roadblocks and hurdles" required to bring in much-needed reinforcements such as Staniforth, who was seen as an ideal replacement for injured win Cameron Shepherd.
Mitchell's squad will be stretched to its extremes in coming weeks, starting with a visit to the Hurricanes this Saturday. Joining Pocock, Brown and Shepherd on the sidelines are fly-half Mark Bartholomeusz, sidelined with nerve irritation in his neck, and marquee signing Andre Pretorius, who is out for the season after requiring surgery to reattach a torn hamstring.
Western Force General Manager of Rugby Mitch Hardy said of the crisis: "These injuries were unforeseeable and just freakish in nature. Our medical staff are working overtime to ensure these players are able to get back and perform as soon as possible however it is fair to say that we will be without some quality performers for a significant portion of the season.
"The squad is being tested and the opportunity is now there for our younger and developing players to step-up and fill the breach."