Tuesday 23 January 2018

Carty blow adds to Lam's injury woes

Ospreys 29 Connacht 7

John Cooney is tackled by Sam Davies and Ashley Beck Photo by Chris Fairweather/Sportsfile
John Cooney is tackled by Sam Davies and Ashley Beck Photo by Chris Fairweather/Sportsfile

Alex Bywater

Connacht will need to defy a growing injury list if they are to beat Zebre and Toulouse to qualify for the quarter-finals of the Champions Cup with fears that Jack Carty's season could be over.

Carty suffered a bad knee injury against Ospreys, but initial reports that he suffered cruciate ligament damage could not be confirmed. Flanker Jake Heenan added to the walking wounded list while captain John Muldoon is nursing a hamstring problem.

Despite his woes, coach Pat Lam has urged his team to raise themselves for two crunch European games in the next fortnight. Lam's outfit meet Zebre at The Sportsground on Saturday before jetting off to face Toulouse eight days later for their last game in Pool 2.

Carty looks certain to be missing and Lam knows his medics face a busy week ahead.

"We're excited by the opportunity in Europe, but we need to see what the injury situation is and reassess. We'll know in the next 24 to 48 hours how the guys are," he said.

"If we can do that - and we have a genuine chance in these two games - that would be massive for us. The next two weeks will determine whether we can achieve that goal or not."

Connacht are level with Wasps and Toulouse on 13 points in Europe and they could yet qualify for the latter stages as either pool winners or one of the best runners-up. However, they will need to improve from their showing against the Ospreys.

The Welsh side played some superb running rugby in Swansea, tries from Dan Baker and Olly Cracknell converted by young out-half Sam Davies just reward for their early dominance.

Baker was named man of the match for a barnstorming display as his team moved top of the Pro12 ahead of Munster.

Their 14-0 half-time lead was added to after the break by further tries from Nicky Smith and Ashley Beck, who secured the bonus point in the final minute.

Sean O'Brien grabbed a consolation try for the visitors with John Cooney converting, but it wasn't enough.

Ospreys: Evans; Howells (Biggar 72), Beck, Matavesi (Fonatia 66), Dirksen; Davies, Habberfield (Leonard 65); Smith (Thomas 65) Parry (Otten 66), Fia (Jones 57), Ashley (Beard 73), Jones (capt), Cracknell (Underhill 65), Tipuric, Baker

Connacht: O'Halloran; Adeolokun, Parata, Robb (Poolman 41), Healy (Gaffney 78); Carty (Blade 31), Cooney; Buckley (Cooney 66), McCartney (Heffernan 55), Bealham (Andress 66), Roux (Stevenson 66), Cannon, O'Brien, Heenan (McKeon 12), Dawai

Ref: John Lacey (IRFU)

Irish Independent

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