Following last weekend’s win over Edinburgh, the Connacht squad were back training yesterday in preparation for their trip to Italy where they will face familiar opponents Zebre this Sunday (Stadio XXV Aprile, kick-off 5.30pm local time/4.30pm Irish time).
There were some minor injury concerns arising from the encounter with Edinburgh at the Sportsground. Replacement prop Ronan Loughney was on the pitch for barely 10 minutes before he had to retire with a calf strain that leaves him unavailable for up to two weeks.
Andrew Browne (rib) was also withdrawn through injury but the Galway-born forward is expected to be available to play this weekend.
Pat Lam’s squad was boosted by the return to training of Gavin Duffy, Brett Wilkinson and David Nolan who will all be monitored this week to determine their return to play date.
Meanwhile, Willie Faloon has been given the all clear to resume graduated training. The openside flanker is expected to be fit to play in two to three weeks.
Faloon’s news comes at the same time that fellow openside Jake Heenan has undergone essential shoulder surgery that will keep him out of action for the remainder of the season.
The scheduling of the surgery allows the 21-year-old New Zealander to recover in time for Connacht’s pre-season training in the summer.
In the meantime, Leinster Academy flanker Conor Gilsenan has come to Connacht on loan for the remainder of the RaboDirect PRO12 campaign.
Connacht have also confirmed the departure of centre Eoin Griffin at the end of the current season to English Premiership side London Irish.