Six Connacht players have been handed their first starts of the season for Sunday’s trip to BT Murrayfield to face Edinburgh (k/o 7.35pm).
International call-ups and a number of injuries have meant there’s a reshuffle of Andy Friend’s side from the opening two games, with two players potentially making their debuts off the bench.
There’s a new-look half-back partnership of Conor Fitzgerald and Caolin Blade, while Tom Daly comes in for his first start of the season alongside Tom Farrell at centre. Sammy Arnold is named on the wing with Alex Wootton and John Porch completing the back three.
In the front row there’s a start for Shane Delahunt and Jack Aungier while Denis Buckley continues at loosehead. Some long-term injuries in the second row means Eoghan Masterson comes in to partner Gavin Thornbury, while Abraham Papali’i has been handed his first start of the campaign at number 8. Paul Boyle and captain Jarrad Butler complete the starting team from blindside and openside flanker respectively.
The replacements include scrum-half Colm Reilly and Academy lock Cian Prendergast who would both earn their first Connacht caps if called upon.
Commenting on his team selection, Head Coach Andy Friend said: “Having seven players away on international duty is a great situation for Connacht Rugby, and it also provides an opportunity for others to step up and look to fill those vacancies over the next period of time. We’ve still got a core group of experienced players to select from within the squad, so I’m really happy with the depth that we’re building”.
Regarding the game itself, Friend added: “There’s no doubt that Edinburgh have been one of the form teams in the competition for the last year and have quality all over the pitch. That said, we learned a lot from our game in Cardiff and we’re expecting this to be a similar type of encounter, so I’m confident we can build on that and put in a performance capable of getting a win”. CONNACHT RUGBY MATCHDAY SQUAD VS EDINBURGH RUGBYSunday 25th October, 7.35pm @ BT Murrayfield Connacht:
John Porch, Sammy Arnold, Tom Farrell, Tom Daly, Alex Wootton, Conor Fitzgerald, Caolin Blade, Denis Buckley, Shane Delahunt, Jack Aungier, Eoghan Masterson, Gavin Thornbury, Paul Boyle, Jarrad Butler (Capt), Abraham Papali’iReplacements:
Jonny Murphy, Paddy McAllister, Dominic Robertson-McCoy, Cian Prendergast, Conor Oliver, Colm Reilly, Peter Robb, Tiernan O’Halloran