Connacht supporters will have the chance to see new signing and former rugby league player Api Pewhairangi in action for the first time with the New Zealander selected to start at outside centre in a partnership with Bundee Aki.
Former Leinster lock Ben Marshall is included amongst the forwards’ replacements.
Up front, flanker James Connolly is the sole Academy player to start against the Top 14 side and features in a back row with Galway-born duo Eoin McKeon and John Muldoon, who continues as captain for the coming season.
Connacht team to face Grenoble:
15 – 9: D Leader, F Carr, A Pewhairangi, B Aki, D Poolman, J Carty, I Porter
1 – 8: JP Cooney, T McCartney, R Ah You, U Dillane, D Qualter, J Muldoon (c), J Connolly, E. McKeon
Forwards (8): F Bealham, N White, J Dever, J Walshe, S Delahunt, B Marshall, S O’Brien, G Naoupu
Backs (6): C Blade, S O’Leary, C McKeon, D McSharry, R Parata, N Adeolokun
Commenting on the team selection and the upcoming game, head coach Pat Lam said:
“After six weeks of intense pre-season conditioning, it’s great to have a competitive game like this to put everything we’ve been working towards into practice. We’ll be looking for the selected players to execute our systems and structures as a team and under pressure against a quality French side.
“The selection includes a mixture of senior and academy guys who have been training with us this summer. This is a great chance for those younger players to impress and show what they can do.
“We’re delighted to be starting the new season with a game at home and really looking forward to playing in front of our supporters again.”
Connacht v Grenoble
Friday August 7th
Kick off 5:15pm