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O'Shea turns down approach from Italy

Former Ireland international Conor O'Shea has knocked back interest from Italy to replace Jacques Brunel as their head coach.

The Harlequins boss was the leading candidate to take over the Azzurri, who parted company with their French supremo after exiting the World Cup at the pool stage, but he has decided to remain in London.

"It's flattering but my job is here," he said.

Connacht coach Pat Lam, meanwhile, is hopeful that Bundee Aki can recover from an ankle injury in time for Friday's Challenge Cup clash with Newcastle, amid an injury crisis.

Aki sustained the ankle injury in last Friday's PRO12 defeat to Cardiff. Darragh Leader (hand) and Quinn Roux (ankle) both picked up injuries, while Eoin McKeon faces four weeks out with a torn elbow ligament.

Second-row Ben Marshall re-fractured his arm in training.

John Muldoon (calf) and Ronan Loughney (back) also sat out training.

"Aki rolled his ankle. It's all about the swelling. Hopefully it will come down," said Lam.

"We only have 23 of our 41-man original European squad fit and available. It's a lengthy list, but we just have to deal with it."

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