Connacht coping with fresh injuries ahead of Glasgow test

Marnitz Boshoff has returned to South Africa for personal reasons

Connacht’s Marnitz Boshoff has suffered bereavement in his family. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Connacht’s Marnitz Boshoff has suffered bereavement in his family. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

 

Connacht Rugby must cope with another spate of injuries ahead of their next block of four Guinness Pro12 fixtures, while they have also lost Marnitz Boshoff, who has returned to South Africa for personal reasons.

The 28-year-old former Golden Lion was due to play for Connacht as they bid to close the gap on sixth-placed Glasgow on Saturday, but he has returned home after the sudden death of his father. The sad news comes just weeks after the birth of Boshoff’s first baby and just a day before his parents were due to fly to Ireland to see their new grandson, Zean.

Boshoff, who is on a two-year contract with Connacht, had recovered from shoulder surgery after an injury in his first start of the season in December, and was expected to line out for Saturday’s clash away to Glasgow.

“He was going well and was available for selection,” said coach Pat Lam. “He trained fully last week, did all the contact stuff, and ticked all the boxes, but the main thing now is for him to get home and be the strong character he is for the family.”

Also unavailable are Matt Healy (hand), Nepia Fox-Matamua (ACL), Cian Kelleher (hamstring), Conor Carey (foot), and Ireland lock Ultan Dillane, who is ruled out for the season after undergoing shoulder surgery and will now miss Ireland’s summer tour. However, Lam believes there are better things ahead for the Tralee-born player.

Come back stronger

“No doubt he could have carried on, but he’s having it sorted and he will come back stronger. There are bigger things ahead. He will get a good pre-season for Connacht, and I believe he will have a massive year next year building towards the World Cup. There is no good time [to get injured], but he can write this season off and more importantly build for next season, and he will get bigger, stronger and faster.”

Goods news for this crunch fixture against the Warriors, who are seven points head in the Pro12 table, is the availability of internationals Tiernan O’Halloran, Quinn Roux and Kieran Marmion who, Lam said, was now established as a scrumhalf who could play at the very highest level.

“We all know here the class he is, the competitor he is, but to do it on the big stage – I thought he did really well against Wales, and he got them back into the game, and then he was class at the weekend.

“He is one of the best defensive half-backs around, he’s an energiser, a really good runner with the ball, and I believe a lot of space opened up wide because of him.”

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