Wednesday 24 January 2018

Harlequins hit by Smith injury blow ahead of crunch clash with Connacht

Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

CONNACHT'S Challenge Cup opponents Harlequins have been dealt a blow with the news that centre Ollie Smith will miss Sunday's encounter between the sides - as well as the rest of the season.

The 28-year-old was stretchered off during Quins' defeat to Saracens last Sunday and a scan revealed the former Montpellier star has seriously damaged his knee and requires surgery.

Smith was impressive when the sides met in a pre-season friendly earlier this year, when Harlequins ran in six tries at the Sportsground in a 40-7 win. However, Eric Elwood fielded a largely inexperienced side that day and lost stand-in captain Johnny O'Connor after 15 minutes.

Harlequins currently lie in eighth place in the Premiership and have only managed three wins from 10 in their domestic season to date, which is similar to Connacht's brace of victories from nine outings in the Magners League.

Both teams have managed one win each in the Challenge Cup to date, with Connacht bouncing back from a defeat to Italian minnows Cavalieri Estra to see off French outfit Bayonne in Galway.

The game could also provide the talented, but volatile former Ulster prop John Andress with the perfect platform to remind the provinces of his talents.

He recently served an apprenticeship with Exeter Chiefs in National League Division One and has been impressing with the London club of late.

Irish Independent

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