Sunday 23 October 2016

Ronaldson boost for Lam ahead of clash with Scarlets

Daragh Small

Published 27/01/2016 | 02:30

Connacht's Craig Ronaldson (Photo: SPORTSFILE)
Connacht's Craig Ronaldson (Photo: SPORTSFILE)

Goalkicker Craig Ronaldson is back available for Connacht's crucial Pro12 clash with Scarlets at the Sportsground on Saturday.

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Connacht take on the league leaders in Galway as they look to make it back-to-back victories at the end of this 16-week block of games, and Ronaldson's return is a big boost.

Between them, out-halves AJ MacGinty and Jack Carty missed six of their nine kicks at goal in the 47-5 bonus-point win over Enisei-STM in the Challenge Cup last weekend. Former Lansdowne man Ronaldson has been the province's chief goal-kicker this season, but he picked up a shoulder knock in the last-gasp 21-18 way defeat to Scarlets earlier this month.

That was Connacht's last league outing and coach Pat Lam is delighted to have a key man available to him for the return fixture against the Welshmen.

"It's another option there, but it's great to have any player back. It brings back competition again back at training, that's what you want," he said.

Versatile back-row Eoin McKeon is also due to return after he recovered from a hip pointer injury that he aggravated in his first game back against Doncaster Knights in the B&I Cup earlier this month.

Hooker Shane Delahunt is back available after concussion, but fellow No 2 Jason Harris-Wright continues to follow the return to play protocols - he sustained the same injury early on in the loss away to Brive.

Centre Dave McSharry, who has only made one appearance this season, remains sidelined as he also follows return to play protocols.

Elsewhere, England wing Chris Ashton is hoping to rescue his Six Nations after Saracens confirmed they will be appealing against the length of the 10-week suspension that has ruled him out. Ashton received the ban for making contact with the eye area of Ulster centre Luke Marshall in the Champions Cup.

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