Pat Lam has named his Connacht side to face Brive in round 5 of the European Challenge Cup on Saturday. The head coach has made 10 changes to the starting team that travelled to face Scarlets five days ago.

USA international outhalf AJ MacGinty has been handed his third start of the season while Ian Porter comes in at scrum half.

Bundee Aki moves to inside centre to allow Academy centre Rory Parata wear the number 13 shirt. Danie Poolman returns to start on the right wing while Tiernan O’Halloran and last week’s try scorer Matt Healy are retained to complete the back three.

Up front, Ronan Loughney, Jason Harris-Wright and Rodney Ah You start in a new front row while Aly Muldowney partners Ultan Dillane in the second row this week.

Academy flankers Sean O’Brien and James Connolly are named in the back row while captain John Muldoon shifts to Number 8.

Denis Buckley makes a welcome return from injury to take his place on the replacements bench that also sees George Naoupu, Caolin Blade and Peter Robb included this week. Jack Carty is in line to mark his 50th appearance for Connacht should he come on at Stade Amedee-Damenech tomorrow night.

Commenting on the team selection and the upcoming game, Pat Lam said:

“Tomorrow’s game against Brive is a massive one for us in terms of our European ambitions. Securing a home quarter final is a goal we set out at the start of the season. Brive are flying in the Top 14 and have only been beaten once at home this season so we know it’s going to be another tough assignment on the road. But playing in France is always a challenge the boys enjoy and we’re really looking forward to it.

“We’ve made a few changes to the side with the short enough turnaround from last week’s trip to Wales. With guys coming back from injury, competition for places is very high and this is a great opportunity for those lining out tomorrow to put in a performance for the team.”

Connacht team to face Brive, Saturday, January 16th, 20:45

15            Tiernan O’Halloran
14            Danie Poolman
13            Rory Parata
12            Bundee Aki
11            Matt Healy
10            AJ MacGinty
9               Ian Porter

1               Ronan Loughney
2               Jason Harris-Wright
3               Rodney Ah You
4               Ultan Dillane
5               Aly Muldowney
6               Sean O’Brien
7               James Connolly
8               John Muldoon  (captain)

Replacements:

16            Tom McCartney
17            Denis Buckley
18            Finlay Bealham
19            George Naoupu
20            Eoghan Masterson
21            Caolin Blade
22            Jack Carty
23            Peter Robb

Unavailable / Injured:  JP Cooney, Andrew Browne, Ben Marshall, Quinn Roux, Nepia Fox-Matamua, Kieran Marmion, John Cooney, Craig Ronaldson, Dave McSharry, Robbie Henshaw, Conor Finn.
Not registered with European squad: Jake Heenan

Brive v Connacht
Saturday 16th January
Stade Amedee-Damenech
Kick off 8:45pm (local time)

Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys

 

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