Connacht side named for visit of Lions

22 March 2024

Connacht side named for visit of Lions

Connacht Head Coach Pete Wilkins has named his side for tomorrow’s BKT United Rugby Championship meeting with Emirates Lions at Dexcom Stadium (5.15pm).  

There are five changes to the side that beat Scarlets three weeks ago, with all of them coming in the pack. Prop Denis Buckley, hooker Tadgh McElroy, lock Joe Joyce, flanker Conor Oliver and number 8 Sean O’Brien come into the side. 

Buckley and McElroy are joined by Jack Aungier in the front row while Niall Murray partners Joyce, and Cian Prendergast continues at blindside flanker.  

The back line is all unchanged, meaning scrum-half Caolin Blade captains the side with JJ Hanrahan alongside him. Cathal Forde and David Hawkshaw continue in the centre, while the back three features wingers Andrew Smith and Byron Ralston, and full-back Tiernan O’Halloran. 

Connacht are aiming for their fourth straight win in the competition as they continue their quest for playoff qualification and a return to next season’s Investec Champions Cup. 

Commenting ahead of the game, head coach Pete Wilkins says: 

“Tomorrow marks the start of a huge block of games for us both in the URC and Challenge Cup. We navigated through the Six Nations period with the two wins we needed, so now we want to build on that for the remainder of the season. 

The Lions are getting stronger with every year they’re in this competition, and they’re one of the strongest South African sides away from home. So we’re fully aware of the challenge ahead, and the need for us to be at the top of our game to get the win.” 

17:15, Saturday 23rd March 2024 @ Dexcom Stadium 


15. Tiernan O’Halloran (231)
14. Byron Ralston (27)
13. David Hawkshaw (24)
12. Cathal Forde (23)
11. Andrew Smith (9)
10. JJ Hanrahan (14)
9. Caolin Blade (184) (C)
1. Denis Buckley (242)
2. Tadgh McElroy (11)
3. Jack Aungier (62)
4. Niall Murray (68)
5. Joe Joyce (12)
6. Cian Prendergast (61)
7. Conor Oliver (77)
8. Sean O’Brien (6) 

16. Dave Heffernan (191)
17. Jordan Duggan (43)
18. Sam Illo (16)
19. Darragh Murray (19)
20. Shamus Hurley-Langton (32)
21. Colm Reilly (23)
22. Jack Carty (206)
23. Paul Boyle (87)