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Connacht Boosted By Returning Players Ahead Of Glasgow Clash

Connacht Boosted By Returning Players Ahead Of Glasgow Clash

Fresh from beating Bristol in their final pre-season match, Connacht face Glasgow Warriors in the opening round of the revamped GUINNESS PRO14 at the Sportsground Saturday (kick-off 7.35pm).

Ahead of the Championship opener, a number of players have returned to team training having recovered from respective injuries. Denis Buckley (finger), Quinn Roux (ankle), Jake Heenan (back), Tom Farrell (thigh) and Peter Robb (head) have resumed training in the past week.

Meanwhile, Naulia Dawai sustained a minor hamstring injury in training last week and is currently rehabilitating under the supervision of the Connacht medical and fitness teams. Scrum half Caolin Blade has stepped up his rehabilitation this week following his hamstring injury in the pre-season outing against Munster.

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Niyi Adeolokun, who underwent knee surgery at the end of last season, will return to partial team training towards the end of September/early October. Tiernan O’Halloran is still recovering from knee surgery in the off-season and will return to team training in the coming weeks.

O’Halloran said he is looking forward to working with Kieran Keane and some ‘exciting’ new players when he gets back to full training. Asked about the province’s new head coach, the Ireland full-back said: “He’s big on culture and the community. As he says, ‘Connacht is a special place and you work hard for everything that you get’. That’s something we’ve always bought into and agreed with and he’s carried that on from Pat (Lam).

“I suppose his on-field stuff is slightly different because he’s coming from the Chiefs which is Super Rugby; pretty expansive but maybe a bit more structured at times as well. We know we’ve got a lot to work on and we have changed a lot, especially exit strategies and things like that. It takes a bit of getting used to, but the main thing is everyone has bought into it.

“You just have to believe and trust in what they’re trying to do. You saw that with Pat. The first six months he was here we all thought he was crazy and we weren’t good enough to keep the ball the way he wanted.

“But in his second season we improved and then we won the PRO12 title. That’s the thing now, it’s all change in here. Hopefully that will lead us to improve all of our games and raise the standard.”