Triple injury blow for Connacht before new season even starts
Connacht are hoping to hit the ground running in 2015/16 but they're already stumbling.
It takes a lot to dampen Pat Lam's enthusiasm but the Connacht coach has had some wind taken out of his sails [mixed weather metaphors] by some injury blows.
The westerners will have to go into the new season with a weakened back row and midfield.
Flanker Jake Heenan had further surgery on his damaged shoulder and is months away from a comeback, while Api Pewhairangi and Niyi Adelokun both injured knees in their pre-season jousts.
Lam told us, 'Api's injury was a major blow. Niyi as well. He did his right knee and Api did his knee too.
'It doesn't look good for both of them. They are seeing surgeons and getting scans, to gt a better idea on how long [their recovery] will be.
'I don't see them being available for the next couple of games - Dragons and Glasgow. It is disappointing as they were doing so well in the pre-season.'
With Robbie Henshaw on Ireland duty, Lam needs to pair Bundee Aki with someone in midfield. Danie Poolman looks the likeliest to play but Lam says Dave McSharry and Craig Ronaldson are not too far away from returns.
'You have young Rory Parata,' Lam added. 'He has played very well in both pre-season games.'
Heenan starred for Connacht in his debut season but was plagued with shoulder issues over the past year. Lam expects him to return to the pitch in November but has been impressed with new back-row addition Nepia Fox-Matamua.