As the GUINNESS PRO12 takes a two-week break, Connacht’s focus switches to the European Rugby Challenge Cup and the arrival of Top 14 side La Rochelle to the Sportsground on Saturday (kick-off 5pm).
Following their 9-6 win over Benetton Treviso last Friday night, the province are now sitting in fifth place in the GUINNESS PRO12 table.
Despite the bruising round 6 encounter in Italy, there were thankfully no major injury concerns for Pat Lam and his coaching team come Monday morning.
Academy hooker Shane Delahunt sustained a high ankle sprain just before he was substituted in the second half. His training will be modified early in the week before a decision is made on his availability for the Challenge Cup opener.
It has also been confirmed by the medical team that Connacht’s most-capped player, Michael Swift, will be unavailable to play for at least three weeks following a lower leg ligament injury picked up in training last week.
In better news, hooker Jason Harris-Wright has been passed fit to play and potentially make his season debut this week following his recovery from shoulder reconstruction surgery back in May.
Meanwhile, Connacht Eagles were also in action over the weekend in the opening round of their British & Irish Cup campaign. Twelve tries were scored in a high tempo game as a strong Bristol side came out on top 50-34 at Ashton Gate.
Senior lock Andrew Browne played his first competitive game of the season in Bristol and came through the 80 minutes without concern.
However, Academy flanker James Connolly pulled up with a hamstring injury and will not be available to head coach Nigel Carolan this coming Sunday when the Eagles welcome Pontypridd to the Sportsground (kick-off 2.30pm).
Tickets for Connacht’s Champions Cup clash with La Rochelle are selling fast. Remaining tickets for the Main Stand, new Seated stand and behind the goals are on sale from www.tickets.ie, the Connacht Rugby office and from Centra & SuperValu stores province-wide.