Muliaina still holds out hope of Connacht swansong
Published 22/04/2015 | 02:30
Connacht coach Pat Lam believes 100-times capped All Black Mils Muliaina is still in with a chance of playing for the province again but is rapidly running out of games.
The 34-year-old full-back, who arrived at the Sportsground at the start of this season, has made just 11 appearances for the Westerners and is yet to score a try.
Injury has ruled him out of Saturday's key home clash against Glasgow Warriors and he faces a race against time to be fit for the ties away to Zebre - whom he will join in the summer - and at home to Ospreys.
The former Chiefs and Blues star was arrested following Connacht's Challenge Cup exit at the hands of Gloucester on April 3 for an alleged incident in the wake of their Pro12 defeat to Cardiff Blues last month.
Muliaina has been suffering from a grade two adductor strain that he picked up in the game against Gloucester but Lam believes he may well get the chance to line out for Connacht again before moving to Italy.
"Mils is still in the return-to-play group. At the time I said he would be available for selection; I didn't say he would play," said Lam.
"The first step for all of the injured guys is to deal with their injury - get back in condition to be able to play the game.
"But then they also face the challenge of the guys who are there and how long they have been out versus the guys who have been there taking their opportunities.
"I don't know (if he will play with Connacht again). That is all part of the medical team and the strength and conditioning team."
Meanwhile, prop Nathan White's slim World Cup dream is still alive as he undergoes surgery on a troublesome back injury in Dublin today.
The 33-year old tighthead, who made his international bow for the Irish Wolfhounds against the Saxons in January and has played 47 times for Connacht, is expected to be back fit in time for pre-season training, assuming he has no setbacks.
White was in line to make his full international debut against South Africa last November but got injured.