Connacht Rugby can confirm that the following players will be leaving the province at the end of the current season: Naulia Dawai, Stacey Ili, Andrew Deegan, Denis Coulson, Cormac Brennan, Pat O’Toole and Steve Crosbie.

Commenting on the departures, CEO Willie Ruane said: “I want to take this opportunity to thank each of the players for the significant contributions they have made to Connacht Rugby over the past few seasons and to wish them well in the future.”

At Connacht’s last home game of the season against Leinster, supporters will have an opportunity to show their appreciation to all the players leaving the club at the end of the season.

A further announcement will be made in the coming weeks in relation to other players whose contracts are currently scheduled to finish at the end of the season.

 

Head Coach Mossy Lawler has named the Connacht Eagles side for Sunday’s British and Irish Cup clash against high-flying Ealing Trailfinders at the Sportsground (2pm).

Andrew Deegan, Rory Scholes and captain JP Cooney are among the players drafted into the side.

Once again, the strong selection includes a mix of senior and Connacht Academy players as Ireland international Niyi Adeolokun and Fiji international Naulia Dawai both maintain their places.

Out-half Deegan partners Conor McKeon at half-back with Scholes starting on the left wing as Stacey Ili maintains his place at outside centre.

The Connacht Academy, sponsored by NUIG, is well represented with Matthew Byrne at full back, Kieran Joyce at inside centre, Peter Claffey in the second row, and both Paul Boyle and Harley Fox in the back row.

An all-senior front row sees Denis Coulson and Cooney flank Pat O’Toole with lock Gavin Thornbury partnering Claffey in the engine room.

Scrum-half James Mitchell is set to make his return from injury off the bench with three Academy players among the replacements – out-half Luke Carty, back three player Adam Leavy and prop Conor Kenny.

Ireland U18 internationals Cian Huxford and Callum Torpey (Exile) complete the bench along with Niall Murray, last year’s Connacht U18 Player of the Year.

It is set to be a very tough task against an Ealing Trailfinders side that are flying high in the Championship with five wins from six.

They made a superb start to the B&I Cup campaign thanks to a 67-12 win over Richmond last week and former Connacht out-half Shane O’Leary is among their ranks.

Admission to this game for Season Ticket holders and under-12s is free of charge.

General admission is €5.

Connacht Eagles: Matthew Byrne; Niyi Adeolokun, Stacey Ili, Kieran Joyce, Rory Scholes; Andrew Deegan, Conor McKeon; Denis Coulson, Pat O’Toole, JP Cooney (Capt); Peter Claffey, Gavin Thornbury; Paul Boyle, Naulia Dawai, Harley Fox.

Replacements: Callum Torpey, Conor Kenny, Niall Murray, Cian Huxford, James Mitchell, Luke Carty, Adam Leavy.

 

Connacht Eagles B&I Cup Fixtures & Results

Saturday, October 14

Rotherham 28-23 Connacht Eagles, Clifton Lane;

Sunday, October 22

Connacht Eagles v Ealing Trailfinders, The Sportsground, 2pm;

Saturday, December 9

Richmond v Connacht Eagles, Athletic Ground, 3pm;

Sunday, December 17

Connacht Eagles v Richmond, The Sportsground, 2pm;

Saturday, January 13

Ealing Trailfinders v Connacht Eagles, Trailfinders Sports Ground, 3pm;

Weekend of Saturday, January 20

Connacht Eagles v Rotherham, The Sportsground, TBC;

Oyonnax 15

Connacht 43

Connacht got their European Challenge Cup campaign off to the perfect start with a bonus point win against French Top14 side Oyonnax in the 30,000 seater Stade de Geneve in Switzerland. Buoyed on by a noisy travelling support Connacht ran in five tries in an exciting, attacking performance.

Leading 22 points to 15 at the break Connacht never looked like loosing this game despite a purple patch for the French side when they pegged back a 16 point deficit to bring it back to 19 points to 15 in Connacht’s favour with 35 minutes gone. From there on it was all Connacht though as Oyonnax failed to score for the remainder of the game.

Oyonnax opened the scoring with a penalty inside two minutes from out-half Christopher Ruiz. Connacht responded immediately with Matt Healy getting over for a try after 5 minutes and Cian Kelleher doing likewise a few minutes later. Connacht continued to apply the pressure and kicked to the corner after 20 minutes. From the resulting lineout Eoin McKeon got over for Connacht’s third try.

Oyonnax responded with their best period of the game with tries from centre Ulupano Seuteni and winger Axel Muller crossing to cut the gap to 19-15 after half an hour.

After the break Andrew kicked a straight forward penalty to keep the score board ticking over and the bonus point was secured when Matt Healy got over for his second try on 53 minutes. From there on Connacht defended resolutely to make sure Oyonnax had no opportunity to get back into the game.

With two minutes Darragh Leader got over in the corner for a well worked try – Connacht’s fifth of the evening. A perfect start to Kieran Keane and Connacht’s Challenge Cup campaign.

Connacht: Darragh Leader, Cian Kelleher (Rory Scholes 69), Eoin Griffin, Tom Farrell (Craig Ronaldson 58), Matt Healy, Andrew Deegan, Caolin Blade, Denis Coulson (Peter McCabe 76), Tom McCartney (Shane Delahunt 65), Finlay Bealham (Conor Carey 76), Ultan Dillane (Quinn Roux 65), James Cannon; Eoghan Masterson, Eoin McKeon, John Muldoon (James Connolly 70).

We’re back at home in the Sportsground for more European action next Saturday. Tickets are still available here.

 

Summer signing Andrew Deegan is set to make his Connacht debut at out-half for tomorrow’s big clash against Cardiff Blues at the Sportsground (3.15pm).

The Cardiff clash is our final home game for four weeks so don’t miss out! Purchase tickets online to save 20% on gate prices.

See the full team announcement.

Out-half Andrew Deegan is set to make his debut for Connacht against conference rivals Cardiff Blues in the Guinness PRO14 Championship on Saturday at 3.15pm. Deegan signed for Connacht from Australian side the NSW Warathas ahead of the new season and joined up with the squad two weeks ago. He is among a host of changes from the side that started the defeat away to the Dragons a week ago.

Deegan forms a half back pairing with Irish international Kieran Marmion who returns to the starting XV after coming off the bench against the Dragons. The side includes two other players making their first starts of the season. Dave Heffernan comes in as hooker and Craig Ronaldson forms up a centre partnership with Bundee Aki.

Back in the front five are Ireland internationals Ultan Dillane and Quinn Roux while Jarrad Butler is included in the back row for his third start of the season. Ahead of the clash with Cardiff, Butler spoke of the style of play that new Head Coach Kieran Keane is trying to instil in the squad: “There is a big emphasis on players taking ownership for what they do in the game and taking responsibility for what we do on the field. Obviously, KK wants to play an attacking exciting brand of rugby and that is a great environment for us to play in.”

Commenting on the test that Connacht face against Cardiff, Forwards Coach Jimmy Duffy said: “Cardiff had a good performance last weekend and they came very close to Glasgow. We are fully aware of the quality in their side and we give them the upmost respect. Every game we have played against Cardiff over the last few years has been in the balance. We are generally close to each other in the table and this year will be no different now that we are in the same conference.”

 Tickets for the game are available here.

#CONvCAR

Kick-off 3.15pm:

(15-9) Darragh Leader, Cian Kelleher, Bundee Aki, Craig Ronaldson, Rory Scholes, Andrew Deegan, Kieran Marmion, (1-8) Denis Buckley, Dave Heffernan, Finlay Bealham, Ultan Dillane, Quinn Roux, Eoghan Masterson, Jarrad Butler, John Muldoon (Capt)

Replacements (16-23): Shane Delahunt, Denis Coulson, Conor Carey, Gavin Thornbury, Eoin McKeon, Caolin Blade, Tom Farrell, Stacey Ili.

We announced the signing of out-half Andrew Deegan from New South Wales Waratahs earlier today with full details here.

The best value to see all of our home games next season is through a Season Ticket, sign up here now to avoid disappointment.

See the 22-year-old former Australia U20 international in action below.

We are pleased to announce the signing of Andrew Deegan from Super Rugby side New South Wales Waratahs.

The best value to see all of our home games next season is through a Season Ticket, sign up here now to avoid disappointment. 

The 22-year-old out-half, who has been capped by the Australia U20s and Australia Schoolboys, has represented the Waratahs, the NSW Country Eagles and Randwick.

Born in the Sydney suburb of Randwick, Deegan attended famed rugby nursery St Joseph’s College in Hunter’s Hill. After impressing for the school’s senior XV, he was selected for the Australian Schoolboys side in 2013 before helping the New South Wales U20s to back-to-back Championships in 2013 and 2014.

Deegan graduated to the senior ranks with Randwick in 2014 before progressing to the Australia U20s in 2015.

Last year saw the young playmaker score 194 points for Randwick, including five tries in 18 games, and he also helped the NSW Country Eagles to the 2016 NRC finals and was the top points’ scorer in the Shute Shield.

Commenting on the new signing, Assistant Coach Nigel Carolan said: “Andrew is a very highly-rated young player who has already gained a lot of experience in Australia. He has huge potential and we are delighted to welcome him to the province.”

Speaking on his move to the Sportsground, Deegan said: “I am really excited to get the opportunity to join Connacht and have only heard great things about the club, the community, and how supportive the fans are.

“I am delighted to become a part of that and I hope I can add to the success Connacht have enjoyed in recent times.”

See a video of Deegan in action below.

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