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Bealham and Marmion shake off ankle trouble to make Connacht return

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Connacht’s Finlay Bealham. Photo: Sportsfile

Connacht’s Finlay Bealham. Photo: Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

Connacht’s Finlay Bealham. Photo: Sportsfile

Ireland pair Kieran Marmion and Finlay Bealham have returned to full training with Connacht following lengthy lay-offs.

Marmion had been hampered by a troublesome ankle injury and having previously undergone surgery, the scrum-half will be hoping that he can hit the ground running on Connacht's return to action against Ulster on August 23.

Bealham is in the same boat having overcome a serious ankle injury which had threatened to rule the tighthead out for a long time.

Both internationals will be hoping to catch Ireland head coach Andy Farrell's eye ahead of a busy autumn schedule.

Connacht have also been boosted by the return of Tom Farrell (shoulder), Matt Healy, (ankle) Jonny Murphy (head) and Matthew Burke (thigh).

Meanwhile, another Ireland international Quinn Roux is still working his way back to full fitness from recent hand surgery. The lock is set to miss at least the Ulster game, and is expected to be back in full training by the end of August.

Fellow lock and new signing Oisín Dowling arrived from Leinster with a back injury and he is also targeting a return by the end of August.

Seán O'Brien is still rehabbing a foot injury, Peter Robb is recovering from a thigh issue, while Stephen Fitzgerald hopes to be back in early October following a knee injury.

Connacht will restart their PRO14 campaign against Ulster at the Aviva Stadium before taking on Munster at the same venue on August 30.

Elsewhere, Jackson Wray is the latest Saracens star to commit to life in the Championship.

The 29-year-old flanker has signed a new contract to keep him at Sarries until the summer of 2023.

Top England players like Owen Farrell, Maro Itoje, Mako Vunipola and Jamie George are already on board for Saracens' stint in the second tier next term.

The club will be relegated from the Premiership at the end of the pandemic-delayed campaign after being punished for salary cap breaches, but Wray is staying put.

"I love this club and I'm really pleased to have re-signed for the next three years," Wray said.

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