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Dublin: 5 °C Thursday 20 February, 2020

Aki and Healy return to help Connacht bounce back against reigning champs Glasgow

A win over the Warriors will bring the Pro12 semi-finals to Galway.

Image: James Crombie/INPHO

Updated 16.14

CONNACHT HAVE BEEN boosted by the return of in-form centre Bundee Aki for their crunch Pro12 showdown with Glasgow at the Sportsground on Saturday (kick-off 15.00, TG4).

The 26-year-old former Waikato Chief, has played 25 times for Connacht this season and scored five tries, but was injured during Connacht’s inter-provincial victory over Munster last month.

He was subsequently ruled out of last week’s 22 – 21 defeat against Treviso in Stadio Monigo with a knee injury. But he is now back available for selection, as Connacht know victory will be enough to give them a priceless home Pro12 play-off semi-final.

“It’s a big boost, we all saw what happened. He’s a tough character. He was even trying to get to Treviso even though he couldn’t train.

“It’s a good boost that’s he’s there,” said Connacht coach Pat Lam.

Defeat in Italy was Connacht’s third loss in four outings, after they lost to Ulster in the Pro12 on 1 April and Grenoble knocked them out of the Challenge Cup quarter-final.

They are all already guaranteed their first ever Pro12 play-off semi-final, but a win against Glasgow would give them crucial home advantage in the final four.

Matt Healy makes a break Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Free-scoring wing Matt Healy has returned from a minor back injury that he picked up in training and kept him out of the Treviso game.

Lam remains hopeful that loosehead prop Denis Buckley may make a return for the Pro12 play-offs, but both he and tighthead Nathan White remain unavailable this week. White hasn’t featured since he was concussed against Leinster in March.

Craig Ronaldson is due to take part in a full training session later this week after his ankle injury, while wing Danie Poolman has resumed light running as he attempts to rehab his foot injury.

Originally published 14.59

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Declan Rooney

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