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Connacht star's Six Nations hopes dealt a blow with shoulder fracture

Tom Farrell sustained a scapula injury which will rule him out for approximately six weeks.

Connacht centre Tom Farrell looks on at his side's Heineken Champions Cup outing against Toulouse.
Connacht centre Tom Farrell looks on at his side's Heineken Champions Cup outing against Toulouse.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

TOM FARRELL’S HOPES of playing in next year’s Six Nations have been dealt a blow with the Connacht centre set to be sidelined until the New Year with a fractured shoulder.

Farrell (26) scored a try against Toulouse last weekend in the Heineken Cup, but also sustained the scapula injury, which will leave him out for approximately six weeks.

Connacht backs’ coach Nigel Carolan confirmed that Farrell does not need surgery to repair the injury, while he hopes his latest setback won’t halt his Irish prospects.

It was Farrell’s third try in just six outings for Connacht this season and having featured in Irish squads under Joe Schmidt in the past, the absence dents his chances of making the first squad of Ireland’s new head coach Andy Farrell.

But Carolan is maintaining an optimistic outlook for his talented attacker, while the side will also be boosted by the return of Ireland centre Bundee Aki for their PRO14 clash with Southern Kings at the Sportsground on Saturday.

“Tom can bank a lot of what he has done, it has been really good,” said Carolan.

“There has been a lot of big games. This 13-week block is full of massive games for us. Every player wants to play in all of the games but he can take a lot of resolve in the fact that he has been playing really well. At least he is back in the shop window again.

His injury is not as bad as first feared. We would love Tom to be available, he has been superb. He is in a position where he has a lot of competition with Tom Daly, Bundee Aki and Peter Robb.

“We look at the squad it could be worse, but we would love him to be fit.”

Aki’s omission last weekend was just a precaution after he experienced tightness in his hamstring following the thrilling 23-20 win over Montpellier at the Sportsground.

Connacht had 16 players out injured for that win and Ireland scrum-half Kieran Marmion is still missing after he had an epidural in his back a couple of weeks ago. He is expected to return for the back-to-back games against Gloucester.

Captain Jarrad Butler, Denis Buckley, Eoin McKeon, Niyi Adeolokun and Rory Burke are all back available for this weekend.

However, full-back Darragh Leader is suffering from a calf issue and won’t be fit while the injury crisis in the second row persists with a short-term signing likely.

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“We need to keep our options open (in the second-row). We are actively looking but it has to be right,” said Carolan.

“We have a couple of really good guys in our ranks here in Cormac Daly and Niall Murray. But if we are going to bring someone in it has to be for the right reasons.

“Second row is the one area that we are a bit tight and we are conscious about the game time and minutes that are accumulating on the guys that are in there.

“We are looking at how we can alleviate that but it is finding the right solution.”

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Daragh Small

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