Connacht Head Coach Kieran Keane has included new signing Pita Ahki among his starting XV to face Zebre on Saturday (K.O. 1:15pm Live on TG4). Ahki who came off the bench to make his debut against Cardiff last week, will make his first start for the province as they travel to Italy for the PRO14 clash.

 

The Connacht side features a new half back pairing with Steve Crosbie starting at out-half and Kieran Marmion back at scrum half following his return from international duty. In the pack Shane Delahunt, who scored two tries against Cardiff starts at hooker where he is flanked by Denis Buckley at loosehead and Finlay Bealham at tighthead.

 

Academy player and Sligo native Cillian Gallagher, who made his debut against Worcester in October, is named among the replacements. Ahead of the clash, Connacht Head Coach Kieran Keane, spoke about the importance of getting a result against the Italians: “While we were disappointed not to beat Cardiff last week, I was proud of the boys and the way they battled to take 2 points from the game. In this competition it is really important to do well against teams in our conference.”

“We will face a big challenge against Zebre on Saturday. They have made it difficult against a lot of teams so far this season particularly when they are at home. We will need to be at our best to beat them” added Keane.

 

 

#ZEBvCON

Kick-off 1.15pm (Irish Time):

(15-9) Tiernan O’Halloran, Cian Kelleher, Pita Ahki, Tom Farrell, Matt Healy, Steve Crosbie, Kieran Marmion,

(1-8) Denis Buckley, Shane Delahunt, Finlay Bealham, Ultan Dillane, James Cannon, Eoghan Masterson, James Connolly, John Muldoon (Capt)

Replacements (16-23): Dave Heffernan, Peter McCabe, Conor Carey, Cillian Gallagher, Naulia Dawai, James Mitchell, Jack Carty, Eoin Griffin.

 

 

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