Pat Lam’s men took part in the Challenge Vaquerin in Lacaune in August 2013, playing Castres in a close game that finished 43-31 in favour of the then French Champions.
The starting XV for this Friday’s game will be announced on Thursday from the following traveling squad.
Tiernan O’Halloran, Darragh Leader, Fionn Carr, Matt Healy, Danie Poolman, Bundee Aki, Shane O’Leary, Dave McSharry, Rory Parata, Api Pewharangi, Jack Carty, Craig Ronaldson, Kieran Marmion*, John Cooney
Denis Buckley, Finlay Bealham, Tom McCartney, Dave Heffernan, Shane Delahunt, JP Cooney, Rodney Ah You, Andrew Browne, Danny Qualter, Ben Marshall, Ultan Dillane, Eoghan Masterson, John Muldoon, Eoin McKeon, Nepia Fox-Matamua, James Connolly.
*Kieran Marmion has been temporarily released from the Ireland training camp this week in order to amass some game time with Connacht.
Speaking about the camp in France, Head Coach Pat Lam said:
“To get away as a squad and train in a new environment in the lead up to a competitive game is a great opportunity and a very important phase in our pre-season preparations.
“A lot of young players earned game time last week against Grenoble and we learnt a lot about where we’re at. With more players coming back in, it’s great to be able to follow up straight away with what will be an even tougher task away from home against Castres.
“After six weeks of training together in Galway, we’re looking forward to getting away with little interruption. We expect another tough encounter against Castres as we continue to build our game and improve on the lessons from last week. We want to give everyone some game time and try out different combinations ahead of the Munster game and then the season kick-off in three weeks’ time.
Friday August 7th Connacht v FC Grenoble the Sportsground 17:15
Friday August 14th Castres v Connacht Saint-Affrique, France 20:00
Friday August 21st Munster v Connacht Thomond Park 19:45
Connacht Rugby kick off the official season with a home game against Newport Gwent Dragons on Friday, September 4th at 19:30.
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