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Injured Blade to miss Connacht's opening URC clash

Paul Boyle has recovered from food poisoning and is available, with Bundee Aki several weeks way from a return.

Caolin Blade on his international debut against the United States.
Caolin Blade on his international debut against the United States.
Image: Bryan Keane/INPHO

NEW IRISH INTERNATIONAL Caolin Blade looks set to miss Connacht’s opening match of the United Rugby Championship after picking up a leg injury.

Back-rower Paul Boyle – another Connacht player who received his first cap the same time as Blade against the USA during the summer – will be available for their opening game against Cardiff after missing Friday’s clash with London Irish.

Boyle and skipper Jarrad Butler missed the 47-14 loss to London Irish with suspected food poisoning.

“We believe both got a dose of food poisoning,” said Connacht coach Andy Friend. “Both just had dodgy nights and weren’t in a position to play and then, of course, in the current pandemic if anyone has stomach, fever or anything like that you just got to rule them out straight away.”

Friend is hopeful that 27-year old scrum-half Blade, finally capped after a string of consistent seasons, will push on when he returns, with the second game at home to the Bulls the most likely target.

“Caolin is carrying an injury at the moment which will rule him out of the first game. It’s just a lower leg injury and he is working through his return to play procedure,” added Friend.

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The Connacht coach said that Bundee Aki is due back this week after the Lions tour.

“He’s got some catching up to do. He’s been out of the game for about five weeks so I’d suggest maybe round three or four we will be looking for get Bundee back.”

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John Fallon

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