More woe as Roux out until February
Quinn Roux's hopes of returning to the Irish side for the start of the Six Nations have been dashed with the 29-year-old having to undergo surgery for a hand injury.
The lock forward, who won the last of his 12 caps against Wales last March, had genuine aspirations of making it to the World Cup, having also played against Italy, Scotland and England in the Six Nations, but didn't make the cut.
Connacht coach Andy Friend said the manner in which Roux channelled his disappointment into big displays for the province was an example for all to follow - and he was thrilled when the South African was called into Andy Farrell's first Irish get-together.
However, Roux suffered a hand injury on his 100th appearance for Connacht against Munster before Christmas and surgery has been required, ruling him out of a return to training until February.
Friend said it is a disappointing blow for the player and also for a Connacht squad crippled by injuries preparing for a daunting trip to the RDS to play Leinster on Saturday and then facing into Champions Cup clashes against Toulouse and Montpellier with their qualification hopes hanging by a thread.
There is a boost for Connacht with lock Gavin Thornbury returning just as Roux faces a spell on the sideline.
Having Thornbury back in contention is a timely boost for Connacht, who only had 22 senior players training this week due to injury, illness and player management. The former Leinster academy player will like go straight into the squad to face his former side where his lineout skills will be a major asset.