Pat Lam has named a first and second half team for his side’s preseason clash with Clermont Auvergne this evening as the Head Coach prepares for his second season in charge at Connacht Rugby. The game, which is part of the Challenge Auvergne de Rugby, kicks off at 8pm (7pm Irish time) at the Complexe J. Lavédrine in Issoire, France.

The line-ups show a combination of youth and experience as the management team look to blend the new summer signings and development players into the squad. This evening’s fixture is a great opportunity for Connacht to test out the new systems and structures against a top French side who open their Top 14 championship in just eight days’ time.

In the first half, new recruits Shane O’Leary, centre, and Ian Porter, scrumhalf, are Included in a largely youthful back line with Galway-born Tiernan O’Halloran named at fullback. Miah Nikora is handed the reins at outhalf.

Up front, South African born Quinn Roux, who arrived at Connacht on loan from Leinster for the season, partners Danny Qualter in the second row for the opening 40 minutes.

Winger Niyi Adeolokun, who was promoted  from AIL club Trinity this season, will get his first run out in a Connacht jersey tomorrow evening with Danie Poolman starting on his opposite wing. Academy scrum half Caolin Blade will have the opportunity to build on his first cap at the end of last season when he played 10 minutes against Welsh side Ospreys. The Monivea native partners Craig Ronaldson in the half back pairing.

Emerging Ireland Summer tourist Mick Kearney is selected at blindside in a back row with Academy flanker Eoghan Masterson and Number 8 George Naoupu.

Rodney Ah You starts at Tighthead prop following his international debut against Argentina in June. He is joined in the front row by Finlay Bealham and Ireland U20 hooker Shane Delahunt who is part of this year’s sub Academy.

Forwards Andrew Browne and Aly Muldowney have both been withdrawn from this evening’s game due to injuries picked up during the week. A full squad update will be provided on the squad’s return to Galway next week.

Speaking about the upcoming game, Head Coach Pat Lam said:

“We’re playing a big team in Clermont tonight. While it’s our first game of the season, they have a few games behind them as they go into the Top 14 next week. We expect it to be a tough encounter but we’ve said this fixture is less about the result, and more about how we all perform. As a coaching team, we are looking for the players to stand up to the challenge and execute our systems and structures under pressure.“

Clermont Auvergne  v Connacht
Complexe J. Lavédrine, Issoire
Friday August 8th
kick off 8pm local time (7pm Irish time)

*The game is not televised but we will have updates on Twitter. Follow us @ConnachtRugby

Connacht team to face Clermont Auvergne

15 FULLBACK Tiernan O’Halloran Shane Layden
14 R WING Fionn Carr Niyi Adeolokun*
13 CENTRE Shane O’Leary* Darragh Leader
12 SECOND 5/8 Dave McSharry Conor Finn*
11 L/WING Matt Healy Danie Poolman
10 FLYHALF Miah Nikora Craig Ronaldson
9 SCRUMHALF Ian Porter* Caolin Blade
8 NUMBER 8 Eoin McKeon George Naoupu
7 O/FLANK Willie Faloon Eoghan Masterson
6 B/FLANK John Muldoon   Mick Kearney
5 R/LOCK Danny Qualter  
4 L/LOCK Quinn Roux* Michael Swift
3 T/H PROP JP Cooney Rodney Ah You
2 HOOKER Dave Heffernan Shane Delahunt*
1 L/H PROP Denis Buckley Finlay Bealham

*Denotes uncapped player

Non-playing tourists: Nathan White, Sean Henry, Andrew Browne, Aly Muldowney, Jake Heenan, Kieran Marmion

Unavailable: Jason Harris-Wright, Tom McCartney, Ronan Loughney, Mata Fifita, John Cooney, Bundee Aki, Robbie Henshaw, Mils Muliaina

Clermont Auvergne team:

Starting I-XV : Debaty, Paulo, Kotze – Cudmore, Vahaamahina – Kolelishvili, Bonnaire, Bardy – Radosavjlevic, Lopez – Malzieu, Nakaitaci, Rougerie, Guildford – Abendanon

Replacements : Rude, Jedrasiak, Fofana, Delany, Lapandry, Tawalo, Buttin, Chaume, Chouly, James, Ric, Jacquet, Kazubek et Nalaga.




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