Injury woes mount for Elwood in Connacht camp
CONNACHT coach Eric Elwood faces a number of injury headaches ahead of the province's first Magners League clash with competition newcomers Aironi on Friday.
Promising young centre Eoin Griffin has been ruled out until the new year after breaking his finger in last weekend's defeat to Edinburgh and he joins an injury list that already includes Ray Ofisa (eye socket), Niva Ta'auso (cheek) and Adrian Flavin (thumb).
Elwood also has concerns about his top try scorer Fionn Carr, Keith Matthews (back), Darragh Fanning (hamstring), Shane Monahan (ankle), Ezra Taylor (calf) and Ian Keatley (calf), meaning his resources will be sorely tested ahead of the clash with the side that have replaced Connacht at the foot of the table.
"They've struggled to get results and will look to the game against us as a means to get their season back on track, so we're expecting a battle alright," said Elwood.
"They were 10-0 up after 30 minutes at home to the Scarlets last week, so we know they can score points, but we're confident in our own ability, confident in our own defence and we'll stick to our game plan and back ourselves."
Connacht also went 10-0 up against Edinburgh on Friday, but eventually left with just a losing bonus point. Elwood, though, was pleased with certain aspects of that performance .
"The last couple of times we've gone to Murrayfield we've taken a bit of a hiding, so this really shows how far we've come," he said.
"Brian Tuohy, Eoin Griffin, Dermot Murphy, these guys are doing the business and putting their hand up for selection and it's great to see it.
"To come back from being 21-10 down shows a lot of character from the boys. To come back into bonus-point territory allows you to press ahead and go for the win and maybe, with a bit more composure, we could have closed out the game.
"We're trying to play a bit more expansively and increase the interplay between the forwards and backs and I think we really showed that against Edinburgh."