Thursday 13 December 2018

Cannon out of picture as Connacht look to book spot

Connacht's James Cannon. Photo: Sportsfile
Connacht's James Cannon. Photo: Sportsfile

Declan Rooney

Connacht can seal a spot in the quarter-final of the Challenge Cup with victory at Worcester Warriors on Saturday, but they will have to do it without lock James Cannon.

The 29-year-old went off injured at half-time in Connacht's inter-pro defeat to Munster last weekend and will miss the next few weeks due to a shoulder injury.

Cannon, Quinn Roux and Ultan Dillane have shouldered the majority of Connacht's second-row duties this season, and Dillane is likely to replace his injured colleague for the Sixways clash, while Roux looks to have avoided a citing for his yellow carded tackle on Keith Earls.

Connacht went into that Munster game without the rested Dillane, Eoghan Masterson, Kieran Marmion, Tom Farrell and Bundee Aki, and forwards coach Jimmy Duffy says they are all available to return for Saturday's Pool 5 decider.

"It is not majorly serious, but James took a bang to the shoulder. We are just going to monitor him and look after him for the next couple of weeks. Fingers crossed he'll be okay. This week we'll see how he is but we're not sure about Oyonnax yet," said Duffy.

"Everyone that is not on that injury list is vying for selection and everyone is pushing hard. We have got some depth now and some bodies returning, which is good. It gives us some options."

A big name on that absentee list is loosehead Denis Buckley, who won't return from an ankle injury until next month. Last weekend Peter McCabe shone in the No 1 shirt and will challenge Denis Coulson for the starting position this weekend.

"Peter was here last year on a loan deal," said Duffy. "We had the benefit of having a really close look at him. He did really well for us last year and has been improving in training and in games."

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