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More injury woe for Connacht as key quartet emerge as fresh doubts for Munster visit

The Pro12 leaders visit the Sportsground on New Year’s Eve.

Sean Reidy and Franco van der Merwe with Ultan Dillane Ultan Dillane goes down under a tackle from Ulster's Sean Reidy and Franco van der Merwe. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

CONNACHT’S INJURY CRISIS has deepened as they prepare for a New Year’s Eve showdown with table-toppers Munster in the Guinness Pro12.

Prior to Friday’s defeat to Ulster, Pat Lam reported as many as 21 injuries in his squad during what he described as “the most challenging” week of his tenure as Connacht head coach.

Four days since their 23-7 loss at Kingspan Stadium, the western province have confirmed that they’re likely to be without several more key players for the visit of Munster to the Sportsground on Saturday evening [5.30pm].

Finlay Bealham and Danie Poolman were replaced in the first half in Belfast after sustaining head injuries. Both players are subsequently following the return-to-play protocols.

Captain John Muldoon, who played 66 minutes against Ulster, picked up what Connacht are terming “a minor thigh injury” so his fitness will be monitored in the coming days.

Danie Poolman leaves the field with an injury Danie Poolman leaves the field after being injured against Ulster. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

However, perhaps the biggest concern for Connacht relates to Ireland lock Ultan Dillane, who damaged his ankle late in the game after being introduced as a 53rd-minute replacement for Quinn Roux. Dillane is awaiting a scan to determine the extent of the injury.

In other injury updates for Pat Lam’s side, Ronan Loughney has undergone minor surgery on his knee and will be out of action for six weeks, Conor Carey will be unavailable for three months due to the foot injury he sustained against Wasps earlier this month, while Bundee Aki will commence rehabilitation this week after having surgery on an ankle injury which will sideline him until mid-February.

On a more positive note, Peter Robb and Jake Heenan are due to reintegrate into training with the squad this week, with Cian Kelleher and Stacey Ili also set to return to running.

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