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Dublin: 6 °C Friday 14 December, 2018

Big blow for Connacht's Champions Cup qualification hopes as injury sidelines Adeolokun

The Ireland international’s season may be over.

Niyi Adeolokun is a key player for Connacht.
Niyi Adeolokun is a key player for Connacht.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

CONNACHT’S HOPES OF qualifying for next season’s Champions Cup have taken a major blow as speedy winger Niyi Adeolokun could miss the rest of the season.

Adeolokun lasted just 11 minutes of Connacht’s Pro12 defeat to Leinster 10 days ago and the club have now confirmed that the Ireland international faces four or five weeks on the sidelines with a hamstring injury.

The issue will rule Adeolokun out of Connacht’s two remaining regulation Pro12 fixtures — at home to Scarlets this week and away to Munster on 6 May — and potentially all of Connacht’s play-off run for next season’s Champions Cup.

The reigning Pro12 champions have already confirmed their spot in the play-offs which will decide the final spot in the 20-team competition for 2017/18.

Pat Lam’s side and Cardiff Blues will be the Pro12′s two representatives in the four-team play-offs, with one side each from France’s Top 14 and England’s Aviva Premiership to complete the line-up, the identities of which remain uncertain and may depend on who comes out on top in the Challenge Cup final between Gloucester and Stade Francais.

Connacht’s opening play-off encounter will be in fewer than four weeks’ time on the weekend of 19-21 May, with the play-off decider just a week later.

Adeolokun’s prognosis means the Nigeria-born wing, who has scored six tries in each of his last two Pro12 seasons, is facing a race against time to play again this season.

In better news for the province, Matt Healy (hand), Conor Carey (foot) and Cian Kelleher (hamstring) will return to training this week while Quinn Roux and Eoin McKeon have completed their return-to-play protocols after sustaining head injuries against Leinster.

Source: The42 Rugby Show/SoundCloud

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Alan Waldron

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