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Dublin: 12 °C Sunday 5 April, 2020

Pat Lam short on numbers ahead of reigning champions' Pro12 opener

Connacht host Glasgow on Saturday but will be without a number of first-team players.

Connacht head coach Pat Lam.
Connacht head coach Pat Lam.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

PAT LAM SUCCESSFULLY juggled an injury-depleted Connacht squad last season to eventually win the province’s first Pro12 title and little has changed ahead of the start of the upcoming campaign.

Connacht are missing a number of key players, including Quinn Roux, Nathan White, Jake Heenan, Sean O’Brien, Eoghan Masterson, John Cooney and Craig Ronaldson ahead of their season opener, at home to Glasgow Warriors on Saturday (17.15).

Lam is looking light on options in the pack, particularly in the second row, with Ireland international Roux (hip, 2-3 weeks return time), Andrew Browne (thigh, 2-3 weeks) and Ben Marshall (head, unknown) missing this weekend and a further three Academy locks also unavailable through injury.

Prop White is continuing his recovery from concussion suffered last season, Academy prop Conan O’Donnell is nearing a return from a foot injury and new signing Conor Carey (shoulder) is expected to be available next week.

In the back row, Heenan (hand, eight weeks) and O’Brien (ankle, eight weeks) are working towards a return while Masterson (knee) is expected back in December.

Out-half Ronaldson (thigh) is trying to overcome a pre-season injury and is expected to be available for selection in the next couple of weeks.

Fullback/wing Darragh Leader is one of Lam’s longer-term absentees; he isn’t expected to be available until February after undergoing hand surgery.

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