RUA TIPOKI’S Munster injury saga will drag on for at least another week following confirmation last night that he is ruled out of next week’s Heineken Cup clash against the Ospreys.
The New Zealander continues to be troubled by hamstring problems on top of the long term ligament injury that has kept him out of action for almost four months.
He had already been excluded from the Munster panel for tomorrow’s crucial Magners League clash with Leinster, and it now seems certain that Keith Earls will fill the midfield vacancy alongside Lifeimi Mafi for both encounters.
Meanwhile, Munster prop forward Darragh Hurley looks likely to miss the rest of the season with a back problem.
Hurley was part of the Munster squad which recorded a victory in Glasgow in the Magners League last weekend.
Elsewhere, Connacht have made four changes to their side ahead of the visit of the Newport Gwent Dragons at the Sportsground tonight (6.30).
Both Niva Ta’auso and Frank Murphy have overcome their respective hamstring and calf injuries to start in the backline, while up front Ronan Loughney comes in at tighthead prop and Johnny O’Connor returns at openside.
Gavin Duffy moves from outside centre to full-back, making way for Ta’auso, and Andrew Browne moves to his more familiar position in the second row, with Ray Ofisa starting for Connacht for the first time at number eight.
CONNACHT: G Duffy; F Carr, N Ta’auso, K Matthews, L Bibo; I Keatley, F Murphy; B Wilkinson, S Cronin, R Loughney; A Browne, A Farley; J Muldoon (C), J O’Connor, R Ofisa.
Replacements: A Flavin, B McGovern, M Swift, C Rigney, C O’Loughlin, A Dunne, T Nathan.
DRAGONS: K Morgan; R Fussell, R Sidey, A Smith, A Brew; J Tovey, W Evans; H Gustafson, T Willis (capt), R Thomas; S Tomes, L Charteris; H Macdonald, R Parks, J Bearman.
Replacements: S Jones, N Hall, A Jones, D Lydiate, M Thomas, S Connor, R Lewis.
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