Having returned from Italy yesterday after their disappointing GUINNESS PRO12 defeat to Zebre, the Connacht squad trained today as preparations began for Friday night’s clash with Edinburgh at Myreside (kick-off 7.35pm).
After a well-earned rest week, Ireland internationals Kieran Marmion and Tiernan O’Halloran are back in contention and trained today. Niyi Adeolokun, JP Cooney and Jake Heenan have all recovered from minor injuries and are available for selection.
Connacht head coach Pat Lam said: “Both of them (Marmion and O’Halloran) hadn’t had a break in a long time, so they were overdue their break. It’s good they got a chance to rest.
“It wasn’t just mentally, they were both really physically beat. The stronger we are the better we are and that’s always the case. It brings more competition when you get players back.”
Naulia Dawai’s visa issues have been resolved and he is also in contention for the trip to Edinburgh. Stacey Ili, a try scorer in the 25-22 loss to Zebre, was replaced in the first half of that game with an ankle injury and is awaiting the results of a scan.
Meanwhile, experienced prop Ronan Loughney injured his arm in training last week and will see a specialist to determine the extent of the injury.
Commenting on the province’s frustrating 25-22 defeat to Zebre and their quest to qualify for next season’s Champions Cup, Lam admitted: “The goal is the Champions Cup. It’s all about getting into the Champions Cup for next year.
“You are just disappointed to lose to Zebre. But for me it’s never about who you play. When you know that you had the opportunity to win games, that’s more disappointing.
“It was probably one of the easiest reviews in my time here. It was pretty obvious why we lost the game. It was probably tough to go through it but the truth hurts.
“Zebre didn’t have much possession but they took their chances. They probably had about four chances and they took three of them, and we had about 15 genuine chances and we took three of them too.”