Bundee Aki has been ruled out of Connacht’s URC game against Leinster at the RDS this Friday (kick-off 7.45pm) as the Irish centre continues to recover from the knee injury and other assorted ailments which ruled him out of Ireland’s final November international win against Argentina.
Connacht's midfield resources are stretched considering Tom Daly and Tom Farrell have also been sidelined of late, although it scarcely affected them when backing up their bonus-point win over Ulster before the autumn series with last Friday's stunning 46-18 rout of the Ospreys.
The 20-year-old summer signing from South Africa, Shayne Bolton, made his debut outside Sammy Arnold at the Sportsground, with each among the scorers as Connacht ran in seven tries.
Connacht's attack coach Peter Wilkins believes they will have to improve further against a Leinster side which will be smarting from their surprise first defeat of the season at home to Ulster last Saturday.
“I think what Ulster did well was they brought an enormous amount of physicality and energy in everything they did,” Wilkins said.
“When there were positive moments for them they built on them with more positive moments. When they had their own speed bumps in the game and Leinster had the moments – which you expect them to do at home – they found a way to bounce back from it quickly, and let go of that negative phase and reassert themselves on the game and generate their own momentum.
“From that point of view that physicality and energy that Ulster brought enabled them to do both of those things pretty well.
“For us, one thing we know we’re never lacking when we play interpros, but particularly Leinster, is the energy and excitement of the occasion. I think the determination in those games, whether it’s the provincial identity or rivalry, or international selection, there’s no shortage of motivation or incentive in the game.”