Monday 5 December 2016

Sharks circling around MacGinty

Published 30/03/2016 | 02:30

Connacht's AJ MacGinty (SPORTSFILE)
Connacht's AJ MacGinty (SPORTSFILE)

AJ MacGinty, Connacht's Irish out-half who starred in the World Cup for the USA, is believed to be a target for English Premiership side Sale Sharks.

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The westerners have been alerted to the English side's interest in an out-half who linked up with Pat Lam's men in October but only until the end of this season.

Sale will lose current out-half, Danny Cipriani to Wasps ahead of next season.

Connacht had already earmarked MacGinty as a potential recruit as far back as last summer when Lam scouted his performances in the Pacific Nations.

Lam has already boosted his resources at out-half for next season by last month announcing the signing of one-time capped Springbok Marnitz Boshoff.

That may indicate that Connacht are willing to allow MacGinty to leave when his short-term deal expires and the player would be confident of securing a deal given his status as a World Cup out-half.

Connacht also have Jack Carty and Craig Ronaldson on their books, although all three are currently injured, meaning Shane O'Leary will come in against Ulster on Friday.

Academy graduate Conor McKeon is likely to deputise with MacGinty sidelined until, or if, Connacht make the Guinness Pro12 playoffs.

Elsewhere, England's Joe Marler will face a misconduct hearing next Tuesday over his "gypsy boy" slur against Wales prop Samson Lee.

World Rugby has confirmed an independent committee will rule on the issue, after both the RFU and Six Nations cleared the England prop.

The hearing has angered the Rugby Players' Association, which accused World Rugby of "hanging the player out to dry".

RPA spokesman Damian Hopley said that prolonging the episode "defied belief".

"As people throughout the game know, Joe is no racist. He made a comment when provoked and is now being hung out to dry."

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