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Henshaw available to face future team-mates when Leinster visit the Sportsground

Ultan Dillane is a doubt though, and Pat Lam’s side remains heavily hampered by injuries to out-half options.

Image: James Crombie/INPHO

Updated 16.40

ROBBIE HENSHAW COULD play his first game for Connacht since announcing he will leave the province and  MAY come face to face with the Leinster colleagues he will be joining in the summer.

Connacht coach Pat Lam today confirmed that Henshaw and his other Irish internationals will be available for Saturday’s Pro12 top of the table clash at the Sportsground (KO 17.15, TG4 / Sky Sports) Henshaw though, will not take part in a full session until Wednesday after playing a full part in Ireland’s Six Nations campaign.

There is also doubt about lock Ultan Dillane, who made his international debut during the Six Nations, after he picked up a knock.

Kieran Marmion and Finlay Bealham returned to training on Monday, while Nathan White and Dillane were back today. But there is a big blow for Connacht with place-kicker Craig Ronaldson ruled out.

He sustained an ankle ligament injury in the bonus point win over Edinburgh and is not expected to return for a number of weeks, while out-half Jack Carty is still ‘a number of weeks’ away from recovery after the ruptured spleen he suffered last month.

Lam said that former Lansdowne man Ronaldson is a massive loss.

“Our injury toll has come right, we have got some real good selection headaches right across the board. But the main position that we unfortunately have got our injuries with is with Jack and Craig. AJ MacGinty has stepped up very well,” says the head coach.

“Shane O’Leary has been working playing away with our Eagles team. The same with Conor McKeon so they are the three options we have left standing.”

Outside of the 10s and internationals, Shane Delahunt, John Cooney and Andrew Browne are available to face Leinster after resuming full training. Wing Ciaran Gaffney will undergo a scan to determine the full extent of his ankle injury, while centre Rory Parata has stepped up his knee rehabilitation by starting to run this week.

Lam was speaking today ahead of a crucial period which will define their best ever season in the professional era. This weekend’s home clash with Leinster is followed by another inter-pro derby against Ulster before they take on Grenoble in a hotly-anticipated Challenge Cup quarter-final.

After that, it doesn’t get a great deal easier, but the Westerners will at least have home comfort when Munster and Glasgow come looking for late season boosts of their own.

Originally published 14.18

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Daragh Small

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