Thursday 18 January 2018

Nikora injury blow to test Connacht squad depth

Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

Connacht 's resources are being sorely tested with the news that out-half Miah Nikora will miss the province's final trip abroad this season when they travel to Italy to take on Aironi on Saturday.

Eric Elwood's side will face Munster away in the run-in, but enjoy the luxury of a run of home fixtures as they look to improve on their eighth position in the Magners League.

Nikora, a 25-year-old New Zealander, suffered a knee injury while impressing for Connacht 'A' in their victory over Leinster 'A' on Friday and could be out for two to three weeks.

Nikora, who has featured in 13 of Connacht's 17 games in the Magners League this season, will miss Saturday's game in Italy and the home match against Edinburgh the following week.

"It leaves us a bit thin for the No 10 spot, but Troy Nathan will probably cover Ian Keatley there this weekend," said coach Eric Elwood.

"It's unfortunate on Miah as he was going well, but, hopefully, he will be back in a couple of weeks. It's not as bad as was first feared, so we just need to keep it monitored."

Connacht will be bidding to complete the double over the Italian newcomers, having defeated them

11-6 at the Sportsground the weekend before last.

Elsewhere, Ulster coach Brian McLaughlin has recalled his Irish internationals in an extended 36-man squad for the trip to Glasgow on Friday night.

However, the likes of Rory Best and Andrew Trimble are not expected to feature after their exertions at Lansdowne Road last weekend, and those absentees combined with injuries mean the Ulster side could have quite an experimental look to it.

With Ian Humphreys still a week away from full fitness following a hamstring tweak, versatile South African Ruan Pienaar looks set to start at No 10.

Irish Independent

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