Connacht head coach Eric Elwood has backed his youngsters to step into the breach after scrum-half Frank Murphy was ruled out for at least six months.
Former Leicester Tiger Murphy, 30, will be sidelined for six to eight months with a cruciate ligament injury, heightening Connacht’s injury problems in the position with Paul O’Donohoe also out for approximately eight weeks with a hamstring injury.
So far this season, Kieran Marmion has been favoured by Elwood but Connacht will now rely heavily on the 20-year-old, as well as Dave Moore, 24, as they prepare for their second season in the Heineken Cup as well as competing in the RaboDirect PRO12.
And while Elwood was the first to admit that the extent of Murphy’s injury came as a major blow to Connacht, he has every faith in his youngsters to produce the goods.
“Frank has to have a serious operation, he needs an ACL reconstruction. He'll be out for six to eight months,” Elwood told the Irish Independent.
“With Frank’s injury it is our job now to keep up-skilling our two young nines and make sure they are ready. But they are two good lads and two good scholars of the game.
“Kieran has been terrific and we have great faith in himself and Dave Moore. Paul O’Donohoe is going to be out for another eight or nine weeks with his hamstring injury.”