Internationals return for trip to Pau

05 April 2024

Internationals return for trip to Pau

Connacht Rugby can welcome back a number of internationals for Sunday’s EPCR Challenge Cup Round of 16 meeting with Pau (k/o 5.30pm Irish time).  

Six Nations winners Bundee Aki and Finlay Bealham come straight into the starting 15, as well as Caolin Blade following his recovery from injury that kept him out of the Benetton game last week. 

There’s also a first Connacht start for winger Shane Jennings, with his previous eight appearances coming off the bench.

Pete Wilkins has named a squad with a wealth of experience, with eight Connacht centurions in the starting 15.  

Bealham joins an experienced front row with Denis Buckley and Dave Heffernan, while the second row partnership of Niall Murray and Joe Joyce is unchanged. There’s one change in the back row with Jarrad Butler coming in at number 8. 

Jack Carty continues to captain the side from out-half, while David Hawkshaw partners Aki in the centre. Jennings is joined in the back three by Shayne Bolton and full-back Tiernan O’Halloran. 

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

“We’re incredibly excited about this weekend and the prospect of coming up against a strong Pau side in the Challenge Cup. It’s a competition that we want to go far in, and that’s reflected in the squad selected for Sunday. There’s a huge amount of experience there and having Bundee and Finlay back is a big boost too. I’m confident from what I’ve seen in training and with the squad we’ve named that they’ll deliver a big performance.” 


17:30 Irish time, Sunday 7th April 2024 @ Stade du Hameau  


15. Tiernan O’Halloran (233)
14. Shayne Bolton (12)
13. David Hawkshaw (26)
12. Bundee Aki (132)
11. Shane Jennings (8)
10. Jack Carty (208) (C)
9. Caolin Blade (185)
1. Denis Buckley (244)
2. Dave Heffernan (193)
3. Finlay Bealham (197)
4. Joe Joyce (14)
5. Niall Murray (70)
6. Cian Prendergast (63)
7. Shamus Hurley-Langton (34)
8. Jarrad Butler (124) 

16. Eoin de Buitléar (6)
17. Jordan Duggan (45)
18. Sam Illo (18)
19. Darragh Murray (21)
20. Conor Oliver (78)
21. Matthew Devine (1)
22. JJ Hanrahan (15)
23. Tom Farrell (107)