Matt Healy is out for two months with a hand injury. James Crombie/INPHO
Treatment room

Buckley, McCartney and Healy to miss two months for Lam's Connacht

The western province will be without a number of key players for their European opener against Toulouse.

PAT LAM HAS REVEALED Denis Buckley, Tom McCartney and Matt Healy all face extended periods on the sidelines as Connacht prepare for their return to Champions Cup rugby this weekend.

The Pro12 champions are currently counting the cost of a bruising few weeks and will head into Saturday’s clash with French heavyweights Toulouse down to the bare bones.

Buckley faces a minimum of eight weeks out after sustaining a knee injury in the victory over Edinburgh a fortnight ago while Ireland winger Healy and McCartney also face similar layoffs.

Healy broke his hand in the same game and Lam confirmed after Friday’s win over Ulster that both he and McCartney (hamstring) will be out of action for two months.

“They’re big blows,” the Connacht head coach said. “It just makes it difficult because we want the squad, it’s a tough October. We’ve ticked one off but Toulouse here, Zebre away and Leinster. Ideally as a coach you want as many hands on deck.

“So the next guys have to step up and we’ve added a few more academy guys to the squad.”

All three players missed the morale-boosting inter-pro win over Ulster in Galway over the weekend as they earned a bonus point to end the northern province’s winning start to the campaign.

Attention now turns to Europe and a return to the Champions Cup with Top 14 side Toulouse first up in Pool 2.

“I’ve been watching them the last couple of weeks but there’s opportunities for us there and more importantly confidence continues to build as that’s a big game for us,” Lam added.

“They’re a physical team and a lot bigger than us. We’ll build nicely and we have an eight day turnaround and hopefully it’s a big crowd because Champions Cup is here and we’re back.”

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