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Dublin: 10°C Monday 10 May 2021

Ultan Dillane unlikely to be fit in time for Ireland's summer tour

The Connacht second row underwent surgery on his shoulder this week.

Dillane watches on during Connacht squad training yesterday.
Dillane watches on during Connacht squad training yesterday.
Image: Donall Farmer/INPHO

CONNACHT COACH PAT Lam believes Ireland international Ultan Dillane will miss the summer tour to the USA and Japan after shoulder surgery forced him to cut his season short.

The 23-year-old ten-time capped lock has suffered a stop-start season with province and country, and has only featured on 12 occasions for Connacht.

Dillane was set to miss 8-10 weeks following surgery on an on-going shoulder complaint, and after he went under the knife it was confirmed that the Kerry native will not make it back in time for Connacht’s bid to reach next season’s Champions Cup.

And while Ireland play the USA in New Jersey before they travel to take on Japan for two Tests in June, Lam thinks Dillane is now out of contention for that too.

“I’d say very unlikely (that he will make the tour), if he hasn’t played any rugby,” said Lam.

“All he can control is get the injury right and prepare well for pre-season for Connacht. Start the Pro12 really well, and then put himself in the frame for international selection which is miles away now. It’s an injury that he will come back stronger from.”

Connacht have been boosted by the return of the rest of their international contingent from Six Nations duty, including scrum-half Kieran Marmion who played a pivotal role in Ireland’s victory over England last weekend.

But Ireland winger Matt Healy is set to miss at least four weeks of action, with a hand injury he picked up in training.

Pat Lam Pat Lam during yesterday's press conference in Galway. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Fellow wide man Cian Kelleher is out until May with his hamstring problems, and flanker Nepia Fox-Matamua is going for surgery on an ACL injury next week.

Meanwhile, Connacht now look certain to be without out-half Marnitz Boshoff for an extended period, following the tragic death of his father, Jopie, in South Africa over the weekend.

Boshoff (28) has only played twice for Connacht since his arrival from the Lions in October, but was due to return from injury this week against Glasgow Warriors in the Pro12 on Saturday.

Lam says his Springbok out-half will be given all the time he needs to recover after the death of his father.

“He had a stroke driving the car and had a car accident. And then he was in hospital. There was obviously still hope that he would be okay. He passed away on Sunday,” said Lam.

“Marnitz was going well, he was training well. He would have been available for selection this week. He trained fully last week. He did all the contact stuff, ticked all the boxes.

“But it’s tragic. The main thing for him now is to get home and be the strong character that he is, for the family. They are all going to need it at this time.

“It’s probably the worst nightmare, particularly for guys who come from overseas. Whenever you make the decision to leave, the hardest thing is leaving the loved ones behind.”

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Daragh Small

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