Connacht captain Craig Clarke is to undergo a scan which is likely to determine whether he can return to rugby having suffered a concussion in January.
New Zealander Clarke will have an MRI scan in early April – the results of which will form the basis of the decision on whether to continue playing or not.
Connacht coach Pat Lam remains hopeful of Clarke’s return and believes the scan will add clarity to their decision on whether that will happen or not.
“Craig has more scans planned for the beginning of April to check where he’s at. It will certainly give us more clarity,” said Lam according to the Irish Times.
“It’s (his concussion) is still on-going. He’s been out for a while, but for all players, rugby as a game, it could be gone just like that. You never know, it’s just the nature of the game we play,” he added.
Lam praised his captain’s work ethic and attitude despite not featuring since suffering the injury against the Scarlets in the Heineken Cup in January.
The concussion was Clarke’s tenth in 22 months - an alarming statistic by anyone’s standards.
“The boys don’t see him all glum and hanging down. They see the qualities of the man, helping others; mentoring others; passing on his information; encouraging guys; still forming part of the analysis of other teams.
“But he’s still very much part of our leadership group actually. He’s around at training and he’s having a big influence off the field,” said the Connacht coach.
Meanwhile, Clarke’s teammate Kyle Tonetti has been forced to retire from rugby at the age of 26 as a result of a long-standing ankle injury.
Tonetti, who joined from Sale Sharks in 2011, was a fan-favourite at the Sportsground despite having made just 18 senior appearances.