Thursday 23 March 2017

O'Halloran out as Connacht bid to build momentum

Tiernan O'Halloran will miss Connacht's encounter with Zebre Photo: Sportsfile
Tiernan O'Halloran will miss Connacht's encounter with Zebre Photo: Sportsfile

Daragh Small and Cian Tracey

Tiernan O'Halloran will miss Connacht's Champions Cup trip to Zebre on Sunday as Pat Lam's men bid to build on their excellent opening win over Toulouse.

But it is hoped that O'Halloran, who made his Irish debut in South Africa this summer, will be back for the Pro12 derby with Leinster on Saturday week. The Clifden native has played 107 times for Connacht and scored 21 tries since his debut in the 2009-10 season, and he dotted down in last weekend's 23-21 win over Toulouse.

O'Harlloran hobbled off after 68 minutes but he should be fine for their second inter-pro derby of the season at the RDS. "The most important thing is it doesn't look as bad as we initially thought, so hopefully he will be right for Leinster," said Lam.

Connacht begin their journey to Parma tomorrow but prior to that Lam, and some of his management team and senior players, will pay their respects at the funeral of Anthony Foley in Killaloe.

Lock Quinn Roux (concussion) will be re-integrated into training ahead of the game, as will centre Peter Robb (hip), while Eoin Griffin is following the return to play protocols after being concussed on Sunday playing for the Connacht Eagles.

Springbok out-half Marnitz Boshoff will arrive later this week and he will follow the usual medical examinations. Lam says he was delighted that his son Mitch was able to come Ireland to cover the No 10 jersey, after he made his debut for the Connacht Eagles last weekend.

Mitch Lam started in the 23-10 defeat to Cornish Pirates on Sunday - he had been training with the Connacht squad and playing in the Ulster AIL for Galwegians.

"He did well. He came over here as a favour to dad - he was in Auckland - because we were light on 10s," said Lam Snr. "I just needed him to be there covering and helping Galwegians. And just in case, for all of these games until Marnitz arrives this week, we have only had two 10s. Craig Ronaldson has only just got back, so we needed someone."

Ulster are set to be handed a double fitness boost ahead of Saturday's crucial visit of Exeter Chiefs as Ruan Pienaar and Charles Piutau are both likely to feature.

Pienaar returned to Belfast after last week's defeat in Bordeaux with his knee in a brace while Piutau missed the game with a concussion.

Having played for the 'A' team last week, Tommy Bowe is pushing for a recall as is Dan Tuohy who has endured a luckless run of injuries.

Meanwhile, Louis Ludik has signed a new three-year contract that will keep him at the province until at least 2020.

Irish Independent

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