The Connacht squad are training in Galway this week ahead of their interprovincial clash with Munster in round 18 of the RaboDirect PRO12.
Connacht head coach Eric Elwood is happy with the current condition of his squad and looks forward to ‘this important derby clash’.
“We had a week off after the Zebre game so then we had a week of training with no game. We got a lot of quality work done last week. And thankfully the squad is healthy enough. We have a decent squad to choose from,” he said.
Centre David McSharry has returned to training and will continue to be monitored ahead of Friday’s team announcement.
International lock Mike McCarthy will also be available for this week’s fixture following his involvement with Ireland over the last number of weeks.
“We have given ‘Macca’ a few days off post-Six Nations. We are going to see him on Thursday and we’ll assess his injuries. He has been carrying a couple of knocks, so we gave him four days off.
“It would be nice for us, as Macca is a very good player and he is very important for us. He has got five games left in his Connacht career and we have a lot to play for in those five games.
“But he has been through a tough campaign in the Six Nations and picked up a few knocks and we’ll assess him on Thursday,” explained Elwood.
McCarthy’s second row partner Michael Swift is still nursing a knee injury and is ruled out of Saturday’s encounter with Munster.
Kyle Tonetti and Johnny O’Connor are both struggling with ankle injuries and are unlikely to be available as early as this weekend.
Connacht have won four of their last five RaboDirect PRO12 matches, including victories in their last three matches against the Ospreys, Cardiff Blues and Zebre.
Elwood added: “This is such an important derby match for us. Munster are going to get some of their big dogs back for this week.
“Obviously they’ll have to rest some of their internationals but it’s still going to be a daunting task for us. We never get anything easy against Munster whether it’s Thomond or whether it’s Cork.
“But the key for us is that we’ve three victories out of our last three games. And we’re going there with a bit of confidence and we’re very much looking forward to the challenge.”