Connacht Rugby can confirm that Ronan Loughney will finish with the province at the end of the current season.

Danie Poolman, John Cooney, Nepia Fox-Matamua, Danny Qualter, Rory Parata, Shane O’Leary, Lewis Stevenson, Rory Moloney, Josh Rowland and Ivan Soroka are among those also departing the Sportsground in the summer.

32-year-old loosehead prop Loughney has been with Connacht Rugby for 12 seasons as a professional player. The Galway man was a member of the first academy squad assembled in the province and went on to play 191 games across the PRO12 and Europe competitions.

Having represented Ireland at Youths, U19’s and U21 level, Loughney earned his senior international cap away to the All Blacks in the summer of 2012.

Reflecting on his Connacht career, Ronan said:

“I have had an amazing time with Connacht and am grateful to have had the opportunity to represent my home province on so many occasions. The last 12 years have been a dream come true and I am incredibly proud of what the club has achieved.

“I would like to say a huge thank you to all the great teammates, coaches, management and staff that I’ve had the privilege of working with over the years. I’ve had the honour of playing alongside a remarkable group of players who have also become close friends.

“I would also like to thank our wonderful supporters who have stood by us through thick and thin and have made the Sportsground the fortress it is today. Thanks for your incredible support down through the years.

“I am excited for the future and the next challenge. And will forever cherish my time with this great club.”

Connacht CEO Willie Ruane added:

“On behalf of everyone in the Connacht Rugby organisation and around the province I would like to thank and pay tribute to each individual that will depart the club at the end of the season. Some guys have been here longer than others and have played in more games but we are grateful for the commitment and hard work put in by every individual in the squad throughout the year.

“It would be hard not to give a special mention to Locks (Ronan Loughney) who has given so much to Connacht Rugby over the years. He epitomises the core values of not only Connacht but also rugby. He is a credit to his family and to the West of Ireland and he will be sorely missed around the Sportsground. I know that he is hugely proud of the province and he should be so proud of his own contribution to all that is good about Connacht Rugby.

“We recognise and value the role all these men have played and we will celebrate it together with our supporters at the game on Saturday.”

Connacht Rugby Head Coach Pat Lam has named his match day 23 to face Toulouse in the final pool game of the Champions Cup this Sunday (kick off 4:15pm local time).

There are five personnel changes in total from the team that lined out at the Sportsground in the bonus point win over Zebre six days ago.  

Jack Carty has recovered from injury to take the reins at outhalf while Peter Robb also returns to form a new centre partnership with Craig Ronaldson.

Up front, Ireland international Quinn Roux comes in having missed out last week while the back row is also boosted with the return from injury of flankers Nepia Fox-Matamua and Jake Heenan.

Commenting on the upcoming game, Lam said:

 “We are aware of the phenomenal challenge that awaits us in Toulouse on Sunday but these are the sort of games that you want to be a part of.  It’s an opportunity as a player and as a team to put in a performance on the big stage.

“While the right outcome would be massive for Irish Rugby, the focus remains on executing our game plan in a pressure environment to get us the win we need.”

Connacht team to face Toulouse 

Sunday January 22nd, kick off 16:15, Stade Ernest-Wallon  

(Connacht caps in brackets)

15           Tiernan O’Halloran (117)
14           Niyi Adeolokun (48)
13           Peter Robb (24)
12           Craig Ronaldson (57)
11           Matt Healy (83)
10           Jack Carty (70)
9             Kieran Marmion (114)

1             Denis Buckley (107)
2             Tom McCartney (55)
3             Finlay Bealham (71)
4             Quinn Roux (45)
5             James Cannon (8)
6             Nepia Fox-Matamua (15)
7             Jake Heenan (46)
8             John Muldoon (291) (captain)

Replacements:

16          Dave Heffernan (74)
17          JP Cooney (43)
18          John Andress (3)
19          Sean O’Brien (30)
20          Naulia Dawai (5)
21          John Cooney (30)
22          Tom Farrell (1)
23           Danie Poolman (78)

Injured / Unavailable: Conor Carey, Ivan Soroka, Conan O’Donnell, Ultan Dillane, Andrew Browne, Ben Marshall, Marnitz Boshoff, Shane O’Leary, Stacey Ili, Bundee Aki, Eoin Griffin, Cormac Brennan, Cian Kelleher, Darragh Leader, Josh Rowland.

Toulouse v Connacht
Sunday 22nd January
Kick-off: 16:15 (local time)
Stade Ernest-Wallon

Referee: Wayne Barnes (Eng)
Assistant Ref: JP Doyle (Eng)
Assistant Ref: Peter Allan (Eng)
TMO: David Grashoff (Eng)
Citing Commissioner: John Montgomery (Sco)

Ahead of Sunday’s Champions Cup game away to Toulouse (4:15pm), the Connacht Rugby medical team have provided the following update.

Denis Buckley (foot) sustained a foot injury in the Zebre game and will be monitored this week by the medical staff up to the Toulouse game.

Ronan Loughney (knee) has progressed well in his rehabilitation from surgery and will integrate into full training this week with the squad.

Quinn Roux (groin) has recovered from his groin injury and will integrate into full training this week with the squad.

Ultan Dillane (ankle) has progressed very well in his rehabilitation and will integrate into partial training this week with the squad.

Jake Heenan (knee) and Nepia Fox Matamua (chest) have recovered from their recent injuries and will integrate into full training this week with the squad.

Eoghan Masterson (knee) will integrate in to full training this week following his recovery from a serious knee injury.

Jack Carty (knee) will integrate into training this week with the squad following his injury sustained in the PRO12 game away to Ospreys this month.

Both Shane O’Leary (concussion) and Peter Robb (concussion) have successfully completed the return-to-play protocols and will integrate into full training this week.

Josh Rowland (knee) sustained an injury to his knee playing for the Connacht Eagles at the weekend and will be out of action for up to two months.

Toulouse v Connacht Rugby
Sunday, 22 January
Kick-off: 16:15
Stade Ernest Wallon

Referee: Wayne Barnes (Eng)
Assistant Ref: JP Doyle (Eng)
Assistant Ref: Peter Allan (Eng)
TMO: David Grashoff (Eng)
Citing Commissioner: John Montgomery (Sco)

Cornish Pirates v Connacht Eagles
Saturday, 21 January
Kick-off: 14:00
Mennaye Field, Penzance, Cornwall

Ahead of Saturday’s Guinness PRO12 round 13 game away to Ospreys (1:30pm), the Connacht Rugby medical team have provided the following update.

Finlay Bealham and Matt Healy are both suffering from stomach bugs and will not train today (Tuesday). They will be monitored this week ahead of team selection.

Jack Carty picked up a minor calf injury in training on Monday. He will be monitored this week ahead of team selection.

Ultan Dillane sustained an ankle injury in the final minutes of the Ulster game on December 23rd. The second row, who is unavailable for a number of weeks, will be assessed today by an ankle specialist to determine his treatment plan and length of recovery.

Nepia Fox-Matamua dislocated his rib in the Munster game. He is unavailable this week but his fitness will be monitored by the medical team.

John Muldoon suffered a hamstring injury in training on Monday. He is unavailable for the game with Ospreys on Saturday.

RETURNING

Eoin McKeon and James Connolly have both recovered from last week’s illness and have re-joined training.

John Cooney has been integrated into team training this week following his thigh injury. It is hoped he will be available for selection against Ospreys.

Danie Poolman has returned to team training having passed the return-to-play protocols for concussion.

 

Ospreys v Connacht
Saturday January 7th
Liberty Stadium
Kick off 1:30pm

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