On-loan Roux available for Connacht to face Leinster

Leinster ensure John Cooney not available to Connacht coach Pat Lam

Leinster have ensured only one of their two players on loan to Connacht will be available to play against them on Friday in Galway. South African lock Quinn Roux and scrumhalf John Cooney went to Connacht on "loan" at the end of last season.

Roux agreed to an initial deal that extends until December 31st, while Cooney will be at Connacht for the duration of the 2014-15 season.

But of the two only Roux is available to Pat Lam’s side, who have won both of their opening matches in the Pro 12.

“Quinn Roux is available to play this weekend, John Cooney is not. It is in their contracts,” said a Leinster official yesterday.

The secondrow is seen as a replacement for the recently-retired Craig Clarke, while Cooney a smart-thinking nine, will offer Connacht another scrumhalf option alongside Kieran Marmion and Ian Porter.

Emerging Ireland cap Cooney made just eight starts for Leinster over the past three seasons, while Roux, who had shoulder surgery in his first season in Ireland, managed just 14 starts since joining in 2012.

With internationals Isaac Boss and Eoin Reddan in Leinster, Cooney sought out the prospect of more game time out west. Likewise the imminent arrival of Australian international Kane Douglas meant that the 23-year-old Roux would have been pushed further down the pecking order in the secondrow.

The pair is the second instance of “player loaning” from Leinster to Connacht following flanker Conor Gilsenan’s three-month stint at the Sportsground, where he earned three Pro12 caps (two starts) in the backrow.

Roux has started both of Connacht’s opening games against Newport and Edinburgh.

Leinster emerged from their rout of Scarlets with just Zane Kirchner looking like he may spend some time on the sidelines with a hamstring injury.

"Look, the only injuries came out of the weekend obviously, Zane Kirchner tweaked his hamstring and they're looking at that at the moment," said scrum coach Marco Caputo. "Seán O'Brien tweaked his ankle during the week, we're just playing cautiously with him until it settles down so that a minor injury doesn't turn into something chronic later on.

"And Shane Jennings got a bang on his shoulder and he's being diagnosed, but nothing serious and we're expecting all those guys to come through and to be okay."

Caputo can already see the Kiwi slant on Connact’s play, so far making them the most successful Irish side. “There’s a real intent there to play positively and to move the ball, they’re a positive team so they try to play the space and play laterally,” added Caputo

“There’s a real Kiwi influence that I can see coming through their game. They do want to move the ball to the edge but they’re not afraid to play that confrontational game as well.”

Johnny Watterson

Johnny Watterson

Johnny Watterson is a sports writer with The Irish Times