Dowson delivers Saints injury latest ahead of clash with Vodacom Bulls

Burger Odendaal picked up an injury against Munster (photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)Burger Odendaal picked up an injury against Munster (photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
Burger Odendaal picked up an injury against Munster (photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
Burger Odendaal is set to miss Saints' Investec Champions Cup quarter-final against Vodacom Bulls on Saturday night.

The South African centre would have hoped to face his former club, but he picked up a hamstring injury during the second half of the 24-14 win against Munster on Sunday.

Odendaal produced a huge performance in that match, but was seen holding his hamstring during the second half before coming off to be replaced by George Hendy, who went on to score the two tries the won the game for Saints.

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And now it looks like Saints could be without Odendaal for a period of time, especially as he also had to overcome a hamstring issue earlier this season.

"It's frustrating, he's picked up a hamstring (injury)," confirmed Saints boss Phil Dowson.

"He's had it scanned and we will have to be very conservative in how we manage that in terms of his history and the start of this season.

"We'll slowly build him back up but he's unlikely (to play this weekend), which is disappointing because he's a former Bulls player."

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Tom Pearson had been added to the injury list before last weekend’s game.

When asked for an update on Pearson at Tuesday’s media session, Dowson said: "He's good.

"That was less of a soft tissue and more of a pelvis thing so it's not too bad but it's uncomfortable and too uncomfortable for him to be able to carry on.

"We're hoping that as time goes by he gets better, but it's just one of those that is a really unusual sort of mechanism.

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"He's touch and go but hopefully we can get some training minutes out of him and he can be flying around for us."

Saints have been without George Furbank since the Guinness Six Nations as he suffered a calf injury in England's final match, against France.

"Furbs has been involved in training a bit more so we're just sort of building him back up," Dowson said.

"He'll definitely be involved in the run-in.

"I don't think he's too far away as it stands.

"If it was a break you could say it would heal in a period of time but you can’t when it's soft tissue, especially when it was quite an unusual mechanism of an injury.

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"He hasn't been able to get to top speed yet so we're tentative about throwing him in full on from the word go."

With just six days between huge Champions Cup matches, Saints could look to freshen things up against the Bulls.

"We've got to manage the energy of the group and take that into account with the time we've got to train," Dowson said.

"It's a balance between minutes played, the opportunity that's in front of us moving forward, how people are feeling on an individual basis, how beaten up they are, how many minutes they've played and who is needing a game.

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"From a metres per minute point of view, the Saracens game was very intense and from a collision point of view, the Munster game was tough because there were some big boys knocking around and there's some impacts.

"We've had a fortnight where it's been pretty brutal and the medical team have been flat out, doing a great job.

"Actually the lads are very good in terms of their personal recovery to give us the opportunity to train well and hopefully perform well."

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