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Connacht Squad Bolstered By Returning Players

Connacht Squad Bolstered By Returning Players

The Connacht squad trained on Monday as they switched their focus back to the Heineken Cup where they are currently third in Pool 3 – six points behind leaders Toulouse.

Connacht face Zebre at the Sportsground in round 5 of the Heineken Cup this Saturday (kick-off 3.40pm), while Connacht Eagles travel to England to take on Rotherham Titans in the British & Irish Cup.


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There were no major injury concerns following last Saturday’s disappointing 16-8 home defeat to Leinster in the RaboDirect PRO12.

Craig Clarke took a bang to the neck during the first half at the Sportsground and will continue to be monitored in training this week.

The 30-year-old New Zealander was absent from the session on Monday following the birth of his first child at the weekend – a baby girl.


There was more good news for Pat Lam’s squad with the return to training of out-half Craig Ronaldson and flanker Jake Heenan.

The young pair missed out on the back-to-back festive derby period due to injury, but the coaching staff are optimistic that both players will be involved in games this weekend.


Meanwhile, experienced backs Gavin Duffy and Frank Murphy also returned to training and are available for selection this week.


Prop Ronan Loughney, on his return from injury last week, earned game-time on Saturday when starting for local Ulster Bank League side Corinthians and contributing to their 10-3 home win over Malone.


Out-half Miah Nikora, who has been working hard in rehab since pre-season, has returned to training and is on track to be back playing rugby in four weeks’ time.


Connacht have won all three of their meetings with Zebre in the European competition, including a 33-6 victory away from home in round 2 this season.

A win on Saturday afternoon would keep the westerners alive in Europe, with a final pool game to play away to Saracens the following week.


Tickets for Connacht v Zebre this weekend can be purchased online from tickets.ie, from the Connacht Rugby Ticket Office at the Sportsground or from Centra and SuperValu stores province-wide.

Adult tickets start at €;30 while it is €;10 for all juniors.



Meanwhile, Connacht Eagles return to British & Irish Cup action on Saturday afternoon away to pool leaders Rotherham Titans at Clifton Lane (kick-off 2pm).

The Eagles overcame the Titans 27-25 at the Sportsground in October, with a last-minute long range penalty kick from Darragh Leader.

The selected Eagles squad is set to include a mix of senior and Academy players. The team will be announced on Friday.