South Africa’s Adam Byrne omitted tour ‘Not a big story’

Liaison coach Pete Wilkins is confident that newly appointed captain Jack Carte will join them during their two-game tour of South Africa and that he could make his debut of the season in Round Three against the Bulls on Friday.

Carty was not in the 28-man squad that left Dublin on Monday afternoon for Qatar on its way to Cape Town, where he will meet champions Stormers on Saturday.

Luke Gavin Thornberry, who led the team in their dismal 36-10 defeat to Ulster on Saturday, was also left out, as was winger Conor Oliver, but Carty, who underwent wrist surgery over the summer, is expected to be linked with them.

“Yes, I think there is a good chance that Jack will join the tour. He will not be available for selection this week and we will see where he is for the following week.

“He’s at that point now where he’s about to play, so we’ll let him continue his rehab this week in Galway, and make a decision at the end of the week. He’s tracking well.”

Source: Evan Treacy / INPHO

Meanwhile, Wilkins said there was no mystery surrounding former Leicester winger Adam Byrne’s absence from the traveling group, as he was also left out of the squad that performed his duty in Belfast on Saturday.

Byrne was one of four players to move west from Leinster over the summer.

The other three – supporting Peter Dooley, substitute half of David Huxshaw, and especially winger Josh Murphy – showed glimpses on Saturday during their competitive starts as to why Andy Friend and his management team are keen to bring them to the Sportsground.

Byrne, who scored 24 attempts in 66 games for Leinster and crowned Ireland against Argentina in 2017, was not involved in the Belfast defeat and with John Burch, Byron Ralston, Mac Hansen and Oran McNulty traveling to South Africa.

The 26-year-old will have to wait until at least their first home game against Monster next month.

“No really big story,” Wilkins added when asked about Byrne’s omission.

“I think we’ve got a real improved depth for those three players in the back now. Adam did a good job during pre-season and he’s going to have a lot of chances this year, but for this two-game group and the travel involved, we picked a group with it, for sure. We believe quality in it, but also a bit of utility value as well.

“Adam will be training hard in Galway with some of these other guys. We will see him very soon.”

Wilkins took on a more hands-on role with Connacht after being promoted to head coach after a friend moved to the newly created position of rugby director, and the native English player who spent five seasons with the Queensland Reds became the position on the back of being part of Andy Farrell’s successful coaching staff in New Zealand. .

“Look, I found it very valuable,” he added. “Obviously it was a privilege to be involved in regards to your calling. But then also to be able to share in the success they have had. I was very humbled by that.

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“From a rugby perspective, there were many things that I took from him and I think we can adapt to them and put our position in Connacht.

“I think just how train they are, the intensity they generate in training is a key part in terms of seeing how that transfers to how they play the game.

“It’s something we’ve been chasing for the past couple of years. But it’s always good to see a different version of the good or a version of other people seeing through a different lens I suppose.

“So, how do we train, how do we prepare for training, how do we review the training in terms of the messages we give the players – that was very helpful.

“There are aspects of that that we will embrace and aspects of that we put in our own direction. I think that will help us in our development as a coaching group and as a rugby program as well.”