The Connacht Rugby management team have named their matchday 23 for Saturday’s URC interpro against Munster Rugby (k/o 5.15pm).
 
There are two changes from the club’s last outing against Leicester Tigers two weeks ago, with URC top try-scorer Mack Hansen making a welcome return from injury to start on the wing for the first time in a month. The other change is in the second row where Oisín Dowling comes into the starting side.
 
The rest of the starting XV is unchanged, meaning Hansen forms a back three with winger John Porch and full-back Tiernan O’Halloran, while internationals Kieran Marmion, captain Jack Carty, Bundee Aki and Sammy Arnold make up the half-back and centre pairings respectively.
 
The front row is again made up of Matthew Burke, Dave Heffernan and Finlay Bealham, and Ultan Dillane partners Dowling in the second row. Flankers Cian Prendergast and Conor Oliver and number 8 Jarrad Butler make up the rest of the starting team.
 
Included on the bench is Academy scrum-half Matthew Devine, with the Ballinasloe RFC man named in a Pro matchday squad for the first time.
 
Commenting on the team selection, Head Coach Andy Friend says:
 
“​This is obviously a very important game if we’re to achieve our aim of a top 4 finish in the URC. We’ve no game in the competition for a month after this weekend so it’d be great to have another win under our belt, albeit it against a very strong Munster team.
 
The last four games between the teams have been decided by a single score, so we’ve to make sure we’re on top of our game for the full 80 minutes and take our chances when they come.”

 
CONNACHT RUGBY MATCHDAY 23 VS MUNSTER RUGBY
Saturday 1st January, 17:15 @ The Sportsground
 
Number/Name/Caps ( * denotes uncapped)
15. Tiernan O’Halloran (196)
14. John Porch (46)
13. Sammy Arnold (25)
12. Bundee Aki (113)
11. Mack Hansen (7)
10. Jack Carty (168) (C)
9. Kieran Marmion (195)
1. Matthew Burke (32)
2. Dave Heffernan (153)
3. Finlay Bealham (167)
4. Ultan Dillane (122)
5. Oisín Dowling (13)
6. Cian Prendergast (17)
7. Conor Oliver (29)
8. Jarrad Butler (82)

Replacements
16. Shane Delahunt (109)
17. Tietie Tuimauga (1)
18. Dominic Robertson-McCoy (70)
19. Eoghan Masterson (116)
20. Abraham Papali’i (17)
21. Matthew Devine *
22. Conor Fitzgerald (43)
23. Tom Farrell (66)

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PREVIEW: Connacht V Munster