Finlay Bealham missing for Connacht against Scarlets after late call-up to Irish camp

Forwards coach Colm Tucker says the news came just as Connacht players were about to start their scrummaging session

Connacht have lost Finlay Bealham for the visit of Scarlets on Saturday after a late call-up to the Irish camp.

Bealham, not originally included in the squad for Wales, had returned to the Sportsground where he was to play this week against the Welsh outfit.

However, forwards coach Colm Tucker says the news came just as Connacht players were about to start their scrummaging session.

“We got a message to say he’s been pulled to the Irish camp, so it was great to see him for two days and to train with us.


“I know they [Ireland] were keen for Finlay to get minutes, and he was released to play [for Connacht] this weekend.

“He was excited to come back, but that is the nature of it. They get a knock or something in camp, so Finlay is called up, and that is where we want to see him. So, he was back in his car and off to Dublin, and of course he is valued up there as the person he is.”

Tucker says Bealham is “up there with the top around the world”.

“His journey might have taken a little bit longer to come into the limelight, but everyone’s journey is different.

“If you are looking for a really good tighthead, you wouldn’t look further than him.

“He has worked unbelievably hard to get the most out of himself. His preparation is second to none, and he’s a brilliant professional.”

While Bealham’s absence is expected to provide another opportunity for the up-and-coming 25-year-old Jack Aungier.

In addition to Bealham, another six players are unavailable, including fellow internationals Bundee Aki and the injured Mack Hansen, hooker Dylan Tierney Martin (neck), Oisin McCormack (thigh), John Porch and Shayne Bolton.

Following a rare win in Cardiff and now the visit of Scarlets, Connacht see Saturday’s fixture as a real opportunity to keep pace with the top eight. Although Pete Wilkins’ side sits in 10th place, just four points separates themselves and fourth-placed Benetton.

“We just have to stay in the hunt,” says Tucker. “We didn’t play well against Cardiff – we are fully aware of that, but the four points were massively important leading into these two home games.

“We’ve been to South Africa and a lot of the top teams have to play each other, so it is just important that we focus on ourselves, keep chalking up points, and then we should find ourselves there-or-thereabouts. That is our focus game to game. We are right in the hunt.”

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