Connacht Rugby to resume training on Monday

Connacht Rugby players were back in the Galway Sportsground this week in preparation for a return to training. But it was only briefly as the squad of 40 plus management underwent the necessary Covid tests ahead of Monday's resumption.

Following the same protocols as Leinster and Munster, who were back this week, Connacht players will be training in pods of seven, each with one coaching assistant. Every player will go through screening with temperatures taken each day.

Media officer Stephen Long says the main office building is closed so players will arrive in training gear ready for play, using a new one-way system. The pods of seven will be staged at different times during the day - the first at 8am - with no player training for more than three hours.

"There will be no shared facilities and the training will be very controlled," he says.

Long says the early emphasis will be on fitness for at least for two weeks before allowing pods to join and accelerate into contact work.

Connacht have not been in the Sportsground since February when they were winners over Cardiff Blues. They were then in Edinburgh before travelling to South Africa where they overcame the Southern Kings by 29-19 in the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.

As a result, it is a new-look squad that will eventually assemble this season after 12 players left the club, most notably Tom McCartney, Eoin McKeon, Niyi Adeolokun and Kyle Godwin and Darragh Leader.

Head coach Andy Friend currently has a squad of 40, while Academy player Colm de Buitlear will also join the senior squad training next week. The new signings include six players promoted from the Academy, in addition to Sammy Arnold, Conor Oliver, Jack Aungier, and Oisin Dowling. It is expected at least two more players will be signed.

The PRO14 is hoping to restart the 2019/20 season which will be abbreviated with derby fixtures, commencing on August 22.


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