The Connacht management team have named their matchday 23 for tomorrow’s URC fixture against the Cell C Sharks in Durban (k/o 3.05pm Irish time).
 
A win for Andy Friend’s side would cap a second win on their tour of South Africa, and would ensure they become the first team to beat all four South African sides, having already defeated the Vodacom Bulls, DHL Stormers and Emirates Lions.
 
There are six changes from the side that beat the Lions last week, with Finlay Bealham, Gavin Thornbury, Leva Fifita, Conor Oliver, Conor Fitzgerald and Tom Farrell all brought into the starting XV.
 
Bealham forms an experienced front row with Denis Buckley and Dave Heffernan, while Jarrad Butler captains the side from number 8 with Cian Prendergast at blindside flanker.
 
It’s an historic game for Monivea scrum-half Caolin Blade who reaches 150 appearances for the club, while Tom Daly partners Farrell at centre. The back three is unchanged so Mack Hansen again starts at full-back with wingers Alex Wootton and John Porch for company.
 
Commenting on the team selection, Head Coach Andy Friend says:
 
“Beating all four South African teams would be a tremendous achievement but we’re full aware we’ve a significant task ahead of us tomorrow. The Sharks have named a side full of Springbok internationals and will have a large and passionate fanbase behind them in Durban.
 
That said, the group has taken huge confidence from the win in Johannesburg and the atmosphere around the camp all week has been really positive.”

 
CONNACHT RUGBY MATCHDAY 23 VS CELL C SHARKS
Saturday 30th April, 15:05 Irish time / 16:05 local time @ Hollywoodbets Kings Park
 
Number/Name/Caps
15. Mack Hansen (13)
14. John Porch (57)
13. Tom Farrell (77)
12. Tom Daly (59)
11. Alex Wootton (32)
10. Conor Fitzgerald (51)
9. Caolin Blade (149)
1. Denis Buckley (206)
2. Dave Heffernan (163)
3. Finlay Bealham (172)
4. Gavin Thornbury (61)
5. Leva Fifita (14)
6. Cian Prendergast (29)
7. Conor Oliver (40)
8. Jarrad Butler (94) (C)

Replacements
16. Dylan Tierney-Martin (4)
17. Jordan Duggan (27)
18. Jack Aungier (30)
19. Niall Murray (33)
20. Oisín Dowling (24)
21. Kieran Marmion (207)
22. Jack Carty (178)
23. Tiernan O’Halloran (205)

Related

REPORT: Sharks 41-21 Connacht