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IRFU wouldn't let my son ease injury woes, moans Lam

By Cian Tracey

Pat Lam has revealed that the IRFU have turned down a request from Connacht to allow his son Mitch to play for free with the province in the midst of a serious injury crisis.

The revelation will raise eyebrows around the island after the IRFU's performance director David Nucifora just this week granted Munster permission to keep Springbok centre Jaco Taute at the province despite already having All Black Francis Saili on their books.

Connacht are facing the prospect of playing the Ospreys on Saturday without a recognised out-half with deputy scrum-half Caolin Blade running at No.10 in training this week.

South African signing Marnitz Boshoff is out until March and with Craig Ronaldson and Shane O'Leary still not fully fit, Connacht's plight worsened this week after Jack Carty suffered a calf injury.

New Zealand native Mitch Lam has already played for the Connacht Eagles - a side made up of club and Academy players - this season but the IRFU stood firm against the province's approach to allow him to temporarily line out for the first team.

"It was turned down by the IRFU because he is a foreigner," Lam said. "Mitch was going to cost nothing, he's my son so I wasn't going to charge Connacht.

"We only needed somebody for three weeks because O'Leary is not far around the corner. Ronaldson is not far so it is just to cover the injuries. All the new guys need three or four weeks to know our calls.

"It's a language the way we play. That was the whole purpose of asking Mitch to come up here, I was just preparing for this situation. But that's fine. All of the provinces, they have to go through the processes and ask the question. Straight away the answer was no."

Lam also confirmed that Ultan Dillane will see a specialist and is facing a minimum five weeks out with an ankle injury, leaving him in a race to be fit for the start of the Six Nations.

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