Connacht hope Caolin Blade injury not as bad as feared

Connacht are hoping that the extent of the ankle injury Blade picked up in the loss to the Stormers at the weekend is not as serious as first feared
Connacht hope Caolin Blade injury not as bad as feared

INJURY BLOW: Caolin Blade of Connacht is taken off the pitch to be treated for an injury during the United Rugby Championship match between DHL Stormers and Connacht at Stellenbosch in South Africa. Pic: Ashley Vlotman/Sportsfile

Connacht forwards coach Dewald Senekal says it is particularly hard luck on scrum-half Caolin Blade that he is returning home injured from South Africa this week instead of joining up with the Emerging Ireland squad in Bloemfontein.

Connacht are hoping that the extent of the ankle injury picked up in the 38-15 loss to the Stormers at the weekend is not as serious as first feared, but it will not be established until he gets back to Galway.

The 28-year old, who has played 152 times for his native province, finally got capped for Ireland just over a year ago against the USA.

But his hopes of adding to that by impressing for Emerging Ireland in Bloemfontein were dashed when he suffered what seemed a serious ankle injury on Saturday and Senekal said it was a bad blow.

"He's such a brilliant lad. I have a brilliant relationship with him, I call him my Japanese lock forward because he's not the tallest man in the world.

“I really care for Bladey and we had a really good chat today. In the moment, it seemed pretty bad. Unfortunately, he won't have that scan until later this week and we'll have a really clear idea.

"But he's in good spirits, in his mind he feels that it's calming down pretty quickly compared to serious injuries he's had. He's hopeful that the scan comes back and it's not as bad as it's thought to be at the moment.

“Our physios are happier with how he's recovered. It's tough but that's the world of sport. We can mention other guys who have missed out on World Cups due to injury so let's hope he gets back as quickly as possible. He's really important from a rugby perspective and a human perspective. He's really respected within the group."

Another scrum-half, Colm Reilly, was one of five players who flew to join the squad on Saturday, along with captain Jack Carty who is expected to feature on Friday against the Bulls in Pretoria as they try to pick up their first points of the season.

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