Connacht's injury crisis has escalated again this week with loosehead Denis Buckley ruled out for the next two months because of an ankle injury.
Buckley will undergo surgery on his high ankle sprain on Wednesday and is now unlikely to feature in Joe Schmidt's Ireland training squad, which he was expected to be named in.
Buckley injured the ankle during Connacht's win over Munster at Thomond Park, but had hoped that his absence would be limited to a few weeks of rehab, but the province have now elected to sort the injury with surgery.
As a result of the injury Connacht have now de-registered Buckley from their Challenge Cup squad and handed a call-up to Georgian native and Athlone-raised academy tighthead Saba Meunargia.
“Denis Buckley's recovery has not progressed as it should be so he is going in for ankle surgery tomorrow. We expect Denis to be gone for up eight weeks,” said coach Pat Lam, who is already dealing with a lengthy injury list at the province.
“We've used up our last spot of a front-row option so Saba Meunargia has come in for Denis into our European squad.”
Centre Dave McSharry is also definitely out of Sunday's Challenge Cup trip to Newcastle after he picked up a concussion in last weekend's win over the Falcons at the Sportsground.
Tiernan O'Halloran was a late withdrawal from that game due to a quad injury and will be assessed as the week goes on as to his availability for the weekend, while winger Matt Healy is also in the same boat due to a calf haematoma.
Craig Ronaldson, Andrew Browne, Eoghan Masterson, Api Pewhairangi and Jake Heenan all returned to training this week, but neither Pewhairangi nor Heenan are registered to play in Europe.