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Connacht's Roux in fitness battle ahead of Pro14 quarter-final

The second row continues to battle a virus but Finlay Bealham has made a remarkable recovery and could return against Munster this weekend.

Roux is a major doubt for the Belfast trip on Saturday week.
Roux is a major doubt for the Belfast trip on Saturday week.
Image: Billy Stickland/INPHO

IRELAND SECOND ROW Quinn Roux remains a doubt for Connacht’s Guinness Pro14 quarter-final showdown with Ulster on Saturday week. 

The 2016 champions have a run-out against Munster at Thomond Park this Saturday before they make the trip to Kingspan Stadium in the end of season play-offs the following weekend.

Roux will miss this weekend but is also in danger of missing the trip to Belfast on 4 May as he continues to battle a virus. 

“Unfortunately, Quinn Roux is not okay to go this week,” Connacht head coach Andy Friend said.

“He is still having those symptoms that he had last time. It is a week by week proposition. We would have hoped to say that he was clear of that but it is week by week. We will see how he is next week.”

Connacht have been boosted by the return of tighthead Finlay Bealham who missed their crucial 29-22 win over Cardiff Blues at the Sportsground.

He suffered a horrific hand injury in the Challenge Cup quarter-final defeat at Sale last month, but has made a remarkable recovery.

Friend also confirmed a new tighthead is set to join the province as they prepare for the departure of Conor Carey to Worcester Warriors.

“Finlay is likely to be okay. He has made an incredible recovery from that hand injury,” the Australian continued.

“He is full of energy and wants to get back in there. There is every chance we will look to select him this week. He had an infection in the cut but the infection cleared up and he is good to go.

“We have got depth across the park. Those three tightheads, Finlay has played for his country this year, but Dominic Robertson-McCoy has done incredibly well, the development of that man has been fantastic.

Andy Friend Andy Friend speaking to media yesterday. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

“And Conor Carey, we know he is moving on next year, but he is full of beans and wants to leave here in a good spot. There is great competition in those three spots and there is not much between them.

“We have got Paddy McAllister already coming in, as a loosehead, and Matthew Burke stepping up from the academy. We are really happy with that.

“We do have another tighthead signing to announce and Conor Kenny coming through as well, he is been an impressive young man in the academy too.”

Connacht have already secured Champions Cup rugby for next season but there is still an opportunity to chase silverware in the Pro14, and Saturday’s visit to Limerick will be used as a stepping stone towards their quarter-final against Ulster. 

Friend hinted that Bundee Aki might play against Munster, with fellow international Kieran Marmion also in the mix after he recovered from a head knock he picked up in a try-saving tackle against Cardiff.

“Bundee Aki is certainly in the mix. At the moment we are still having a good think about our selection,” Friend added.

“Kieran Marmion is fine, 100% clear. He is looking fast and keen to get out there. He is a real competitor and you see that in the way he plays. Caolan Blade has been playing very very well and we have had him selected ahead of Kieran.

“For Kieran to get 30 seconds to try and make that tackle. That was the end of him, so he is disappointed with that. But he is a fighter and looking forward to his opportunity.”

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Daragh Small

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