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Boost for Connacht's Pro12 title tilt as Jack Carty returns to full training

Winger Danie Poolman has been ruled out with a foot injury picked up against Grenoble.

Carty: fit to face Munster on Saturday.
Carty: fit to face Munster on Saturday.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

CONNACHT’S DRIVE TO reach the Pro12 semi-finals has been boosted with the return of out-half Jack Carty to full contact training this week.

Carty has spent the last ten weeks on the sidelines after he ruptured his spleen on holidays, and with fellow kickers AJ MacGinty and Craig Ronaldson also on the treatment table, much of the workload has fallen to Shane O’Leary.

The Athlone native returned to full training earlier this week and Connacht coach Pat Lam says he is fit and available to take on Anthony Foley’s side this Saturday.

“We are conscious he hasn’t played for a while. He will go through quite a vigorous training today and obviously test everything out.

“Dave Ellis put him through progressive contact play in the last couple of weeks, including this week as well. He is available for selection as I speak now.

“And I am conscious that I have named the starting team three weeks in a row, and that starting team hasn’t got to the start line. At this stage, today is a big day it is our big contact day this afternoon,” said Lam.

Despite taking a couple of blows in Connacht’s loss to Grenoble at the weekend O’Leary has been passed fit after a few “bumps, bruises and black eyes”, which could mean a bench role for Carty this weekend.

However, there is some bad news for Connacht with winger Danie Poolman ruled out with a foot injury picked up in the south of France – he is waiting the results of a scan to discover the extent of the injury – while Jake Heenan could be out for the remainder of the season with his ankle injury.

Flanker Heenan will miss the next three to four weeks with the injury sustained in training last week, which could end his campaign depending on how Connacht fare in the coming weeks.

Cork native Rory Parata has also been cleared to return to action for the first time since February when he picked up a kneecap injury in training, but full-back Tiernan O’Halloran, MacGinty and Craig Ronaldson are all confirmed as absent for Saturday’s sold out Sportsground clash.

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