No confidence in des Fountain?
Dylan des Fountain (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - After seven months on the injured list and only about 140 minutes of Vodacom Cup rugby behind him, new Lions centre Dylan des Fountain has a difficult challenge ahead of him in Friday's Super Rugby match against the Cheetahs.
That is why Lions coach John Mitchell admits that he does not have high expectations of the former Western Province centre.
Des Fountain was surprisingly picked in the Lions midfield after Springbok centre Waylon Murray suffered an ankle injury.
"Dylan played well in the Vodacom Cup and is the kind of outside centre I'm looking for. He attacks the gain line, has a good pass and does not hesitate to help on the ground, said Mitchell.
"But my expectations are not particularly high. I just want him to fit in with what we're doing."
The 25-year-old centre played 18 games for the Stormers, the last of them in 2009.
"I went to Italy last year for a one-year contract with Aironi, but tore knee ligaments after five months," said Des Fountain.
"I therefore came back to Cape Town for my rehabilitation and then Nico Serfontein (Lions Vodacom Cup coach) phoned me to see if I'm available. I felt like playing Super Rugby."
Des Fountain represented the Blue Bulls at under-21 level earlier in his career and his relationship with Serfontein stretches back to then.
"I'm still contracted with Aironi until June and am here on loan. After that I hope to sign with the Lions," he said.
Serfontein recently gave Des Fountain 58 minutes for the Golden Lions against the Border Bulldogs after he recovered from his knee injury. He completed a full match in the quarter-final defeat to the Blue Bulls over the weekend.
Des Fountain is still expected to be rusty and will be up against Cheetahs outside Robert Ebersohn, who will be used to the tempo of Super Rugby after several weeks of playing.
At least des Fountain has a seasoned centre partner in Lions captain Doppies la Grange and he believes the team will get back on the winning track again with the necessary confidence.
"There is so much talent here, but it's about confidence. Apart from that it's a building process they are busy with. We are also building for a Currie Cup tournament in which we are going to be very competitive. We could even win it."
Friday night's match against the Cheetahs at Coca-Cola Park starts at 7.10pm and is the Lions' penultimate home game for 2011.
15 Michael Killian, 14 Lionel Mapoe, 13 Dylan des Fountain, 12 Doppies La Grange (captain), 11 Deon van Rensburg, 10 Burton Francis, 9 Rory Kockott, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Joshua Strauss, 6 Cobus Grobbelaar, 5 David de Villiers, 4 Wikus van Heerden, 3 Kevin Buys, 2 Edgar Marutlulle, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg
Substitutes: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 Patric Cilliers, 18 Franco Van der Merwe, 19 Michael Rhodes, 20 Jano Vermaak, 21 Elton Jantjies, 22 Jaco Taute
15 Riaan Viljoen, 14 Rayno Benjamin, 13 Robert Ebersohn, 12 Corne Uys, 11 Phillip Burger, 10 Sias Ebersohn, 9 Sarel Pretorius; 8 Davon Raubenheimer, 7 Ashley Johnson, 6 Heinrich Brussow, 5 Wilhelm Steenkamp, 4 Francois Uys, 3 WP Nel, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Coenie Oosthuizen
Substitutes: 16 Ryno Barnes, 17 Lourens Adriaanse, 18 Walti Vermeulen, 19 Kabamba Floors, 20 Tewis de Bruyn, 21 Naas Olivier, 22 Hennie Daniller