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Dublin: 4 °C Thursday 24 April, 2014

Connacht lose three players to flu hours before vital Toulouse game

The only silver lining for head coach Pat Lam is that his starting XV remains unaffected.

Frank Murphy featured off the bench against Toulouse last weekend.
Frank Murphy featured off the bench against Toulouse last weekend.
Image: INPHO/James Crombie

THE FLU BUG that drastically affected Connacht’s pre-match preparations for their Heineken Cup clash with Toulouse has struck again.

Head coach Pat Lam has been forced into making two changes to his squad, a little under two hours before the province kick-off against the four-time European Cup champions.

12 Connacht players were reported to be suffering from flu-like symptoms during the week, with Lam and his coaching staff modifying their training plans. The virus looked to have passed off without having too much of an influence on gameday plans but there has been a late, late hitch.

Lam has lost prop Nathan White, who captained the team last season, and scrum-half Frank Murphy from his replacements bench. Plan B was to call in former Leinster scrum-half Paul O’Donohoe to cover for Murphy but he has failed to recover his strength after battling flu all week.

image

The loss of Nathan White from the Connacht bench is a huge blow for the province. INPHO/Morgan Treacy

JP Cooney has been drafted in for White while Darragh Leader — primarily a fullback — comes in as a somewhat unlikely back-up scrum-half for on-form Kieran Marmion. The first XV, named by Lam on Friday, remains unchanged.

*Kick-off at the Sportsground is 6pm and TheScore.ie will be liveblogging in Galway from 5pm.

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