"We talk about continuity but I think it's a fantastic opportunity".
While the 33-year-old Leinster playmaker looked out of sorts in his first match back after a knee tendon injury, the 26-year-old Russell was razor-sharp in Scotland's 32-20 home win against Italy, showing the finesse he has found since his move from Glasgow to Paris-based Racing 92 at the end of last season.
"But we are not going to blame him".
"Scotland are benefitting from Glasgow and Edinburgh playing confident fast-flowing rugby and if they can produce that tempo and play at 100% they have a really good chance of beating anyone on their day despite having a smaller pool of players to choose from", said Pountney.
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"We felt really good in defence, marched them back numerous times then they scored two really cheap tries". We gave Ireland the set-piece and they were able to exit their half, and it's always hard to score from deep. "That was a massive defensive effort". He got a little bit of treatment out there, He's feeling okay now, we don't think it's anything long term.
Between them, the two coaches had made nine changes to their teams and the result was a scrappy, error-strewn, tense affair. With Stuart Hogg, when a player has kicked the ball you have to get out of his way and not make a tackle.
He said after the game: "It happens to him because he is who he is, that's going to happen".
Their scrum was excellent, while their lineout functioned brilliantly despite the loss of Devin Toner and, while their attack was stodgy, it functioned just enough for them to get the three tries they needed.
"When you lose a world class player like Johnny early on for it not to go badly, Joey to step in there". It probably wasn't discussed by the TMO because that comes through to us. The Stockdale try had shown that Scotland were vulnerable close to the ruck, and Carbery demonstrated that again by breaking through the middle of Harley and Allan Dell.
"He's a guy that's growing in confidence and the more often he's in the big games, the greater his confidence will be and he'll be more comfortable in the role".