O'Connor back for Connacht
Connacht coach Eric Elwood hopes he will soon have a full squad to choose from as the first of his three injured back-rowers returns for tomorrow night's clash with Cardiff Blues.
Flanker Johnny O'Connor, who could be poised for his first competitive action of the season after picking up a hip injury during the pre-season, is included in an extended 25-man squad.
And Elwood is hopeful that his skipper, John Muldoon, will be back next week with new No 8 Ezra Taylor to follow shortly after that.
"John Muldoon has targeted the Prato game in the Challenge Cup the weekend after next from a long way back and it looks like he will make it," Elwood said.
"We have had to deal with a lot of injuries... so it would be nice to get a clear run."
Connacht will travel to Italy next week to take on minnows Cavalieri Prato in the Challenge Cup and then face Bayonne at home the following week, with the Basque country side surprise pacesetters in the French Top 14, although they have fallen back somewhat of late.
For now Elwood will be hoping to end this segment of Magners League games with a first win in Cardiff since the inaugural weekend of the competition nine years ago when he kicked two penalties in a surprise 6-3 win.
Aside from O'Connor, back-three utility man Aidan Wynne has been drafted in along with academy hooker Dermot Murphy.
squad in factfile