Mack Hansen in line for Connacht return for Munster derby date

Argentina fullback Santiago Cordero also set to return before the end of the season

Mack Hansen is in line to return for Connacht’s closing United Rugby Championship fixtures, while Argentina fullback Santiago Cordero could also return from long-term injury before the season ends.

International winger Hansen, who has been unavailable since dislocating his shoulder in the new year’s derby against Munster, could return for the away derby against Munster on May 11th.

Connacht coach Pete Wilkins confirmed it will be “another game” before both Hansen and Byron Ralston are available to ensure they have “base level of fitness”, while Cordero is “still tracking well” and could be available for the last two rounds.

Involved with team training this week, management is “keeping a close eye on him”.


Captain Jack Carty remains out, and although JJ Hanrahan departed the field with a slight hamstring tightness in the 55-16 home win over Zebre, Wilkins is confident he will be “fine”.

“No major concern,” he says. “We have Cathal Forde covering for us, Tom Daly spent time covering for us, and he has been ever present in our training, and then there is Seán Naughton for the 20s, so quite a few different options there.”

Connacht, otherwise, have a clean bill of health as they head to Wales for another must-win in their quest for Champions Cup qualification, having delivered a solid win over Zebre at the Sportsground, helped in no small measure by debutant scrumhalf Matthew Devine.

The 22-year-old delivered a man-of-the-match performance, capped with two tries, and Wilkins says Devine has been training full-time with the senior squad since the pre-season start.

“For us it is not a surprise. We have known his confidence, his natural confidence behind the scenes, which is vital for all scrumhalfs, and the fact he has that pace and ability to have those X-factor moments. None of that was a surprise to us, and for us as a club, our pathway, our academy guys coming through and filling that top team is crucial. It is part of our identity and we rely on it as well.

“Matthew is the latest one, and it is very good timing at this stage of the season, particularly with Michael McDonnell being out injured,” he says.

“I think he certainly has the ability, for the stage he is at with his career, and the important bit will be that as he gets more time in the saddle, he learns the nuances around game management and understanding the flow and momentum. Some is time on the field, and it won’t be perfect by any means, but he’s got off to a good start.”