Connacht ‘monitoring’ McKeon after knee ligament sprain, Ulster do likewise with Pienaar

ULSTER SCRUM-HALF Ruan Pienaar and Connacht back row Eoin McKeon will likely have the rest of Christmas week off rather than come face to face with each other in Belfast.

Ulster host Connacht in the St Stephen’s Day inter-pro, but with the home side revealing that Pienaar twisted his knee in the defeat to Ospreys, he may be rested as a precaution.

Ulster today say a scan on their star import revealed ‘no significant injury’, but his progress and return to training will be monitored.

Pienaar has already missed a large chunk of the season after suffering a medial collateral ligament injury on international duty with South Africa. The Springbok has been slowly coming back to full fitness, often deferring the extra stress of kicking responsibilities to Ian Humphreys.

Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Connacht’s medical team report that McKeon sprained a knee ligament during the defeat to Leinster at the RDS. With teams announced on Christmas Eve, Pat Lam has a smaller window to determine whether the recovery will be quick enough to play a part in Kingspan Park.

Second row Andrew Browne has recovered from a knee injury and could make a welcome return for the western province in Belfast.

Two men who definitely won’t be fit to play in Belfast are wingers Tiernan O’Halloran and Fionn Carr. Carr suffered concussion against Bayonne and continues to follow return to play protocols. After undergoing minor knee surgery last week, O’Halloran is expected to be back available for selection within a month.

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