Monday 23 April 2018

Back-row crisis forces Lam to juggle troops

Declan Rooney

Connacht's injury crisis has escalated as they prepare to face Glasgow with just three fit recognised back-row players.

The club, bottom of the Pro12 table, have confirmed that Andrew Browne is out for at least a month after tearing his hamstring against Leinster last weekend, while their flanker emergency got infinitely more serious when Aaron Conneely broke down in training.

Already Pat Lam was planning to face the Warriors without the injured John Muldoon (calf), Willie Faloon (foot) and Eoin McKeon (foot), but he admitted he may be forced to use some second-row forwards in a makeshift capacity this weekend.

On a more positive note, former Leinster players – hooker Jason Harris Wright and prop Nathan White – are expected to return to the squad this weekend after coming through training.

Meanwhile, Ulster look set to give the highly-rated Stuart Olding the No 10 jersey for Saturday's Pro12 trip to face Scarlets. The 20-year-old utility back was superb at full-back last week when Ulster recorded a five-try bonus-point win over the Blues.

With Paddy Jackson likely to be involved in Ireland's match-day squad against Samoa the following week and Ruan Pienaar set to continue at scrum-half before he links up with the Springboks, Olding, who made his international debut against the US Eagles last June, will relish the chance to pull the strings of a confident Ulster side who have won six games on the bounce.

Ulster will have to dig a bit deeper for locks this week with both Johann Muller (calf) and Iain Henderson (toe) both sidelined for at least four weeks, while Dan Tuohy could be heavily involved with Ireland.

Irish Independent

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