Thursday 22 August 2019

Roux likely to miss Connacht clash against Conference rivals Cardiff

Ireland second-row Quinn Roux. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Ireland second-row Quinn Roux. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Declan Rooney

Irish second-row Quinn Roux has emerged as a major concern for Connacht's crucial PRO14 decider against Cardiff Blues this Saturday due to illness.

Roux (virus), Kyle Godwin (thigh) and Finlay Bealham (hand) will almost certainly miss the Sportsground clash, although Andy Friend's side have been boosted by the return of Bundee Aki after a rest week, while Tom Farrell is also available after an eye injury forced him off against Zebre last week.

A win for Connacht will guarantee them a spot in next season's Champions Cup and also qualify them for the quarter-finals as the third-placed team in Conference A, but the loss of Roux against the physical Welsh outfit is a setback.

"He has just been ill, he's been crook for the last few weeks. We thought the break would get him over that but he has come back and he is just not right at this point in time. I'd say he is very unlikely for this weekend," said Friend.

"He is away (from the group) and he is getting himself checked out and we have to make sure everything is okay with him before we put him under the pressures of a game like this weekend.

Shame "It's a real shame, for him too, because as we know he has been in the international set-up this year. There's a lot of competition in that second-row spot. He wants to be playing rugby and we want him to be playing rugby but if your body is not letting you we have to listen."

Connacht were afforded a close-up look at Cardiff last weekend when Munster defeated them in Cork, but their centre partnership of Rey Lee-Lo and Willis Halaholo caused huge trouble for the Munster defence. Friend is happy to have Aki back to bolster that zone.

"Bundee is back and available. It's really good to have him. I thought their centre pairing was excellent against Munster," said Friend.

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"We've had some great combinations in the centres this year. Bundee has done well, Peter Robb has done extremely well, Tom Farrell, Kyle Godwin, Eoin Griffin early on in the year, so we have got a lot of depth in that position."

The Connacht coach also confirmed that tighthead prop Bealham has gotten the all clear from the scans he had on his hand injury. Now that he has battled an infection, it's just a matter of healing time.

With just two games to go, the importance of a home win is not lost on Friend, with Cardiff currently four points behind his side. Cardiff play Ospreys in their final game of the season, while Connacht face a tough trip to Thomond Park to face Munster.

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