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Dublin: 16 °C Tuesday 17 September, 2019
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Dynamic Bundee Aki a concern for Connacht ahead of Exeter showdown

The 24-year-old suffered an ankle injury against Edinburgh on Friday night in Galway.

Aki has quickly set about impressing the Connacht fans.
Aki has quickly set about impressing the Connacht fans.
Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

CENTRE BUNDEE AKI is a major injury concern for Connacht as they begin preparations for Sunday’s Challenge Cup clash with the Exeter Chiefs in Galway.

Both sides have won three of their four Pool 2 fixtures so far this season in the European competition, although Exeter have three try-scoring bonus points to Connacht’s two [as well as a losing bonus point], ensuring the English side lead the group.

It means that Sunday’s encounter is sure to be crucial in deciding who tops the pool and moves into a strong position to secure a home quarter-final.

Pat Lam has been clear in stating that Connacht’s priority this season is a top-six finish in the Guinness Pro12, but with that competition not set to resume until February, the province may use an experienced XV against the Chiefs.

Aki is a unlikely to be involved, however, as he undergoes an MRI on the ankle injury he sustained in Connacht’s defeat to Edinburgh at the Sportsground on Friday night. The 24-year-old appeared to be in some pain before limping off in the 77th minute, leaving Lam’s side with just 13 players on the pitch.

He rolled his ankle or twisted it in the contact,” said Lam of the injury immediately post-match. “The way he runs into contact, he’s pretty dynamic and it got twisted.”

Aki was scheduled to have a scan on the ankle today, with Connacht expected to provide an update later this week. Even if the explosive ex-Chiefs midfielder does miss out on the Exeter fixture as expected, Lam will hope the ankle injury does not mean a longer spell on the sidelines for Aki.

Robbie Henshaw and Bundee Aki Aki has struck up a promising partnership with Robbie Henshaw. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

More positively, out-half Craig Ronaldson has been cleared to resume training having completed his return-to-play protocols.

The former Lansdowne man suffered a concussion in the New Year’s Day victory over Munster, missing out on the loss to Edinburgh as a result.

Ronaldson is expected to be available for selection this weekend against the Chiefs.

Lam proud of Connacht despite loss, laments worst conditions ‘in my experience’

Lam’s Connacht left disappointed in Galway for first time this season

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Murray Kinsella

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