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Under-pressure Connacht are still stalked by injuries ahead of Ospreys clash

Stephen Glennon

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Connacht winger Niyi Adeolokun is chased by Peter Horne of Glasgow Warriors during Saturday's Guinness PRO12 encounter at the Sportsground. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

AFTER their opening day mauling at the hands of Glasgow, there is no respite for reigning Pro12 champions Connacht as they host table toppers Ospreys in the Sportsground tomorrow Saturday (7:35pm).

The fortunes of both teams over the opening weekend were, to say the least, polar distances apart, with Connacht humiliated 41-5 by visiting side Glasgow Warriors and the Ospreys thumping Zebre 59-5 at the Liberty Stadium.

By virtue of that eight-try, bonus point win, Ospreys lead the way after the opening round ahead of Glasgow, Cardiff Blues and Ulster. Indeed, after the first round, Connacht chase most of the pack, with Irish rivals Leinster and Munster also picking up wins.

In Connacht’s defence, they did have a number of injuries going into their season opener and it hasn’t got any easier for Pat Lam and his coaching staff as they have been left to fret over a number of more.

Influential prop Denis Buckley and centre Peter Robb both sustained concussions in the game against Glasgow. Both are being monitored and are following the Graduated Return to Play protocols under the supervision of the medical team.

In addition, back row Nepia Fox-Matamua (hamstring), scrum-half Caolin Blade (quad) and full-back Cian Kelleher (hip) are all nursing injuries sustained in the defeat to Glasgow while Rory Parata is out of action for a month after hurting his knee in a club game.

They join a long list of players recovering from injuries at the moment, including Nathan White and Ben Marshall (concussion), Quinn Roux (hip), Andrew Browne and Craig Ronaldson (thigh), Sean O’Brien (ankle), Jake Heenan and Darragh Leader (hand) and Eoghan Masterson (knee).

However, on a more positive note, prop Conor Carey, who sustained a shoulder injury with former club Nottingham last season, made a return to club rugby at the weekend and is available for selection on Saturday.

While Pat Lam will no doubt initiate changes in his starting line-up for this one – forced and unforced – it would be a surprise if Ospreys did the same after their huge victory on the opening day. To the fore in that win was Sam Parry, who became the first Ospreys forward to score three tries in a competitive game.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

CITY TRIBUNE

Galway’s senior panel strongly support the split-season formula

John McIntyre

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Galway camogie captain Sarah Dervan who strongly favours a split-season between inter-county and club.

OVER 90% of the Galway senior camogie panel have voted in favour of a split-season between inter-county and club.

And the Tribeswomen will be standing firm with the other 11 senior counties in boycotting the upcoming National League if the Camogie Association doesn’t perform a U-turn on its controversial fixtures calendar.

The plan to run off the club championships between the National League and All-Ireland inter-county campaigns has sparked an outcry among the sport’s elite.

In response to widespread protests, the Camogie Association is currently carrying out a survey among its clubs and members before deciding on a final fixtures template.

Galway camogie captain Sarah Dervan has already nailed her colours to the mast in supporting the split-season formula.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Connacht turn to South Africa for team’s new forwards coach

John McIntyre

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South African Dewald Senekai who will be Connacht's new Forwards Coach next season.

A 40 year-old South African is on his way to the Sportsground as Forwards Coach for the start of next season.

With Nigel Carolan and Jimmy Duffy departing the Connacht coaching staff at the end of the current campaign, the province has moved quickly to fill the void.

Already Connacht had moved Peter Wilkins (new Defence Coach), Colm Tucker and Mossy Lawler up through their own coaching ranks, but the need for an outside appointment remained paramount.

Dewald Senekal arrives with extensive coaching experience, most recently serving as Forwards Coach for Stade Francais in the Top 14 after taking over from Paul O’Connell in the role.

From 2017 to 2019 ,he was Joint Head Coach of Grenoble, leading them to promotion from Pro D2 to the Top 14 in his first season.

Senekai began his coaching career in 2015 as Forwards Coach of Bayonne where he finished a long playing career. He also lined out for French sides Toulon and Agen, and South African outfits, the Cheetahs and Lions.

Head Coach Andy Friend is delighted that the South African has signed up with Connacht. “Following an extensive recruitment process, we are thrilled that Dewald is joining the Connacht coaching team.

“He is an extremely impressive individual who will add a lot to the set-up, as well as providing a fresh pair of eyes and new ideas. I know the players will really enjoy working with him and the coaches likewise.

“Our coaching team is now complete with Dewald joining Pete, Mossy, Cullie and myself for the next two years, and we feel very optimistic about what we can achieve both as a group and in the club.”

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

 

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CITY TRIBUNE

Resurgent Connacht relishing battle with vulnerable Leinster

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Connacht winger Alex Wootton who has recovered from injury and is available for Saturday's Rainbow Cup clash against Leinster at the Sportsground.

By Rob Murphy

TAKE a breath of the fresh air that surrounds the Connacht rugby team right now and you’ll get the unmistakable impression that they are relishing the Rainbow Cup competition.

Leinster arrive in Galway on Saturday evening for round two of the six game end of season tournament, licking their wounds after another Champions Cup semi final heartbreaker, while the westerners are looking for a second straight inter-provincial win.

Now let’s not oversell this. The Rainbow Cup has not gone to plan by any means, with the South African sides pulling out of the hastily arranged tournament at the last minute turning it into a six game rehash of the usual fixture, but for Andy Friend and his management team it has been a case of perfect timing for a group that really were looking for a reset button before breaking up for the summer after a long 12 months.

Two weeks on from the victory over Ulster in Ravenhill, the shouts and chirping from the pitch on College Road in Galway are no doubt that bit louder as they bellow across Bohermore and Lough Atalia. A win can do a lot for the mood of a group of athletes. The defeat to Leicester in the Challenge Cup is a distant memory and the next few weeks are about building confidence and developing new patterns. Friend is enjoying the process.

“We are pushing hard in the last few weeks and that’s a compliment to our coaching staff as well as the players. We are in the middle of three inter-pros and that’s how we are looking at it. Yes it’s the Rainbow Cup as well but first and foremost they are games with a lot to play for anyways.” noted Friend.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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