Early this morning, a 30-man Connacht Rugby squad set off for a five day training camp in the South of France that will conclude with a game against Top 14 side Castres Olympique in Saint-Affrique on Friday, August 14th (kick off 8pm local time).

Pat Lam’s men took part in the Challenge Vaquerin in Lacaune in August 2013, playing Castres in a close game that finished 43-31 in favour of the then French Champions.

The starting XV for this Friday’s game will be announced on Thursday from the following traveling squad.

Backs (14)

Tiernan O’Halloran, Darragh Leader, Fionn Carr, Matt Healy, Danie Poolman, Bundee Aki, Shane O’Leary, Dave McSharry, Rory Parata, Api Pewharangi, Jack Carty, Craig Ronaldson, Kieran Marmion*, John Cooney

Forwards (16)

Denis Buckley, Finlay Bealham, Tom McCartney, Dave Heffernan, Shane Delahunt, JP Cooney, Rodney Ah You, Andrew Browne, Danny Qualter, Ben Marshall, Ultan Dillane, Eoghan Masterson, John Muldoon, Eoin McKeon, Nepia Fox-Matamua, James Connolly.

*Kieran Marmion has been temporarily released from the Ireland training camp this week in order to amass some game time with Connacht.

Speaking about the camp in France, Head Coach Pat Lam said:

“To get away as a squad and train in a new environment in the lead up to a competitive game is a great opportunity and a very important phase in our pre-season preparations. 

“A lot of young players earned game time last week against Grenoble and we learnt a lot about where we’re at. With more players coming back in, it’s great to be able to follow up straight away with what will be an even tougher task away from home against Castres.

“After six weeks of training together in Galway, we’re looking forward to getting away with little interruption. We expect another tough encounter against Castres as we continue to build our game and improve on the lessons from last week. We want to give everyone some game time and try out different combinations ahead of the Munster game and then the season kick-off in three weeks’ time.

Pre-Season Fixtures

Friday August 7th                      Connacht v FC Grenoble                the Sportsground               17:15

Friday August 14th                 Castres v Connacht                      Saint-Affrique, France     20:00

Friday August 21st                 Munster v Connacht                     Thomond Park                  19:45

Connacht Rugby kick off the official season with a home game against Newport Gwent Dragons on Friday, September 4th at 19:30.

To secure your place at the Sportsground for all 14 home games in the 2015/16 season, make sure to get your Season Ticket. Click here for more information on all the Season Ticket benefits for the new season.

 

 

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