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Struggling Connacht need something against Ulster rivals to stop the rot

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From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Struggling Connacht need something against Ulster rivals to stop the rot Struggling Connacht need something against Ulster rivals to stop the rot

By JOHN FALLON

CONNACHT coach Pete Wilkins said it is a big relief that Mack Hansen’s foot injury is not as serious as initially feared and he will be available for Friday night’s trip to Belfast to take on Ulster.

There were fears that Hansen was set for a long spell on the sideline and may need surgery after aggravating the foot injury against Bordeaux-Bègles which troubled him during and after the World Cup,

“It’s a relief and a boost,” said Wilkins. “When he went off injured in that Bordeaux game, obviously it is a disappointment for him and us from a rugby point of view, but you can feel a little bit of energy drain out of the team, drain out of the crowd and the whole occasion.

“He is that kind of player, very similar to Bundee in that sense. It’s not just what he delivers in a rugby sense, it’s the energy and the confidence that he brings to a group.

“So for this, of all tasks, this week it’s great to have him back. They are the sort of people that supporters pay their money to come and see and it’s not just rewarding our fans but it’s also capturing the imagination of the neutrals and people who just like watching good rugby.”

Wilkins is preparing his side this week on the back of four successive defeats in the URC and Champions Cup as they take on an Ulster side they defeated 22-20 in the third round of the league this season at the Sportsground.

But they will do so without No.8 Paul Boyle who has to see an eye specialist after a high tackle which earned Maro Itoje ten minutes in the bin during Saturday’s 55-36 loss to Saracens.

Top try scorer Diarmuid Kilgallen is out after the winger suffered a hamstring injury after coming on, while lock Oisin Dowling is expected to be back for the clash with Munster on New Year’s Day.

Pictured: Winger Mack Hansen who has recovered from a foot injury and will line out against Ulster in the URC on Friday night.

 

 

 

 

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