A number of key players have made a welcome return to the Connacht squad for tomorrow’s rescheduled Guinness PRO14 clash with Ospreys at The Sportsground (k/o 3.00pm).
 
In all there are seven changes to the side that narrowly lost to Munster last time out, with Andy Friend able to recall captain Jarrad Butler and a number of other experienced players.
 
Butler lines out in a back row which includes Paul Boyle at number 8 and Conor Oliver on the opposite flank. The in-form duo of locks Ultan Dillane and Quinn Roux continue to pair up, while Dave Heffernan comes into the starting XV in a front row that includes Denis Buckley and Finlay Bealham.
 
There’s a new look half-back partnership with Irish international Kieran Marmion named alongside Conor Fitzgerald, while Peter Robb has been handed his first start of the season at number 12 after recovering from a long-term groin issue. John Porch continues at full-back with Alex Wootton and Peter Sullivan on the wings.
 
The bench includes the returning Bundee Aki who has recovered from a knee injury, and Abraham Papali’i following a recent suspension.
 
Commenting on his selected team, Andy Friend says:
 
“It says a lot about the depth we have built here in Connacht that we can make seven changes from an interpro and still field a really strong side. A number of players are getting their first starts in a month so will be eager to impress, and with the likes of Bundee and Abraham on the bench we’ll have some physicality to call on when needed.”
 
Regarding the fixture itself, Friend added:
 
“I’ve spoken this week about the importance of bringing the same energy for every game, regardless of whether it’s an interpro fixture or not. We’ll put that to the test tomorrow, and after a few disappointing results at home we’re really keen to get back to winning ways here.”
 
CONNACHT RUGBY SQUAD VS OSPREYS
Sunday 24th January, 3pm, The Sportsground
 
Number/Name/Caps
15. John Porch (29)
14. Peter Sullivan (7)
13. Tom Daly (36)
12. Peter Robb (45)
11. Alex Wootton (11)
10. Conor Fitzgerald (28)
9. Kieran Marmion (174)
1. Denis Buckley (190)
2. Dave Heffernan (136)
3. Finlay Bealham (148)
4. Ultan Dillane (106)
5. Quinn Roux (106)
6. Jarrad Butler (65) (c)
7. Conor Oliver (12)
8. Paul Boyle (48)

16. Shane Delahunt (88)
17. Matthew Burke (18)
18. Conor Kenny (9)
19. Gavin Thornbury (48)
20. Abraham Papali’i (4)
21. Caolin Blade (120)
22. Bundee Aki (105)
23. Matt Healy (142)

NOTE: This week’s round of PCR testing returning 0 positive results from the Professional squad and management.

Related

Connacht v Ospreys brought forward to Sunday 24th January