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Connacht put heat on for Dragons tie

CONNACHT have been in touch with a number of clubs in the UK in an effort to ensure that next Friday's Magners league match against Newport Gwent Dragons goes ahead at the Sportsground.

Connacht CEO Gerry Kelly said yesterday evening that there was widespread disappointment that Saturday's clash with Leinster fell by the wayside because of a frozen pitch.

Connacht had covered the surface at the Sportsground on Thursday and the game was given the go-ahead at noon on Saturday, only to be called off two hours before kick-off by referee Peter Fitzgibbon.

"We have spoken to a number of clubs in the UK such as Northampton and Newcastle who have to deal with this sort of problem on a regular basis and we are hoping to lay heavier covering this week and put more heaters out in an effort to ensure Friday's game goes ahead," said Kelly.

"We have looked at other venues but this problem is not isolated to Galway. We will be in touch daily with the Dragons and every effort will be made to make sure the game goes ahead."

Meanwhile, Ulster have injury concerns over centre Paddy Wallace and flanker Willie Falloon ahead of Friday night's Magners League clash with the Ospreys at Ravenhill.

Ireland's Grand Slam-winning centre Wallace was forced off after 52 minutes of Ulster's 15-10 victory over Munster at Ravenhill on Saturday night after he caught his studs in the turf and damaged his ankle, while Falloon took a heavy blow to his shoulder.

However, the second-placed Ospreys handed Ulster a boost when forwards coach Jon Humphreys revealed that the Welsh region may not select their strongest side for Friday's clash.

"We've got a couple of boys nursing injuries and there are boys who haven't played a lot of rugby," said Humphreys.

"It's a balance of wanting to protect some people, but wanting to go to Ulster to be competitive. We have to be in good shape going into the Heineken Cup against Clermont."

Lions stars Alun Wyn Jones, James Hook and Shane Williams could return after recent injury difficulties but may not be risked for the trip to Belfast.

Irish Independent