Connacht face frontrow problems ahead of Saracens game

Tightheads Loughney and White in doubt for clash with Premiership leaders Saracens

Connacht have been left counting the cost if last weekend's Pro12 defeat to Treviso in Italy as they prepare for Friday night's Heineken Cup opener against Saracens at the Sportsground.

Their problems are particularly acute in the frontrow, where both tightheads Ronan Loughney (concussion) and Nathan White (calf) are in doubt for the game against Mark McCall's Premiership table toppers.

Loughney started last Friday’s game at the Stadio Monigo, but was forced to retire after 28 minutes of the first half to be replaced by White.

White only lasted three minutes before pulling up with a calf strain, with Brett Wilkinson coming in at loosehead and Rodney Ah You shifting across the frontrow.


Connacht also lost influential centre Eoin Griffin, who pulled up in the warm-up for the Treviso game and was replaced 10 minutes before kick-off by Brian Murphy.

Griffin is awaiting the results of a scan on a torn foot ligament but is likely to be sidelined for up to five weeks.

On the plus side for new coach Pat Lam is the return of secondrow andConnacht's highest capped player, Michael Swift, who missed out on last week's game. Outhalf Craig Ronaldson also returns .

Dave McSharry and Denis Buckley returned to club rugby for the first time this season last weekend, but are unlikely to be risked against Saracens.