Flanker Jarrad Butler and prop Denis Buckley have returned to the Connacht side to face Benetton Rugby in the Guinness PRO14 on Saturday (Kick off 12pm Irish time). Tiernan O’Halloran, who missed the game against Zebre last week with a short-term injury is also back in Kieran Keane’s starting XV.

Having come through a full 80 minutes last weekend, flanker Sean O’Brien is named at blindside in an experienced back row that includes Butler and veteran captain John Muldoon.

Jack Carty is named at out half where he will form a half back pairing with Caolin Blade.

The squad is also boosted by the return of Niyi Adeolokun from injury and Ultan Dillane from international duty, with both named among the replacements. Dillane will return to Irish camp after the clash in Italy.

The clash with Benetton on Saturday will form the first leg of a tour for Connacht which will take mostly the same personnel on to Bloemfontein in South Africa to play the Cheetahs on Saturday 3rd of March.

Speaking ahead of the two away fixtures, Head Coach Kieran Keane emphasised the importance of having depth in the squad. “We have a number of players coming back from injury which will be a big boost against Treviso on Saturday. They are on a great run of wins and I’m sure they will be targeting us especially when they have been so competitive at home this season”, Keane said.

“The majority of the squad will travel on to South Africa, but we have put plans in place for replacements to join the squad after the game in Italy. These two games will really test the depth of our squad and we will need to be at our best if we want to win them”, he added.



Kick-off 12pm (Irish Time):

(15-9) Tiernan O’Halloran, Cian Kelleher, Eoin Griffin, Tom Farrell, Matt Healy, Jack Carty, Caolin Blade, (1-8) Denis Buckley, Tom McCartney, Finlay Bealham, Gavin Thornbury, James Cannon, Sean O’Brien, Jarrad Butler, John Muldoon (Capt).

Replacements (16-23): Dave Heffernan, Denis Coulson, Dominic Robertson-McCoy, Ultan Dillane, Eoghan Masterson, James Mitchell, Craig Ronaldson, Niyi Adeolokun.

An extended Connacht Squad of 25 will travel to Italy to take on Benetton Rugby on Saturday (K.O. 12pm – Irish Time). From there they will make the journey to South Africa where they will take on the Toyota Cheetahs in Bloemfontein for the very first time on Saturday 3rd of March.

Ahead of the tour, our Medical Team have issued the following Squad Update.

Denis Buckley will integrate into team training this week following his recovery from ankle surgery in early January.

Conor Carey injured his shoulder in the game versus Zebre and is awaiting the results of a scan to determine the extent of the injury.


JP Cooney is recovering from hamstring surgery and will be out of action until April.

Pat O’Toole is continuing his rehabilitation for his hamstring injury under the supervision of the medical and performance team.


Andrew Browne is containing his recovery from the shoulder injury he sustained against Ospreys last week and will be out of action for 4-6 weeks.


Back Row:
Eoin McKeon is nearing a return to team training following his calf injury.

Jake Heenan is continuing his rehabilitation from shoulder surgery and will be out of action until April.

Peter Robb will integrate into team training this week following his recovery from a hamstring injury last month.


Back Three:

Tiernan O’Halloran is nearing a return to team training following his hamstring injury.


The fixture details have been confirmed for Rounds 14-17 of the Guinness PRO14 Championship, which include a back-to-back double header at The Sportsground against Conference A rivals in February.


On Friday 9th February we host Ospreys in the first of two vital Conference A clashes. After a 7 day turn around, Michael Bradley’s Zebre will visit the Sportsground for a Friday night fixture.


The following weeks sees two significant away fixtures. First stop is Treviso where we will take on Benetton Rugby at the the Stadio Comunale di Monigo on Saturday 24th March. The squad will travel from there to Bloemfontein in South Africa for the first time in the return fixture against the Toyota Cheetahs on Saturday 3rd March.



Friday 9th February, 7.35pm
Connacht v Ospreys

Friday 16th February, 7.35pm
Connacht v Zebre

Saturday 24th February, 1.00pm (12.00pm Irish Time)
Benetton Rugby v Connacht

Saturday 3rd March, 7.35pm (5.35pm Irish Time)
Toyota Cheetahs v Connacht


Ticket details for these fixtures will be announced soon.

Remember you can give the perfect gift this Christmas with the Connacht Christmas Cracker which includes access to all five home games in the new year.


Ahead of Sunday’s Guinness PRO12 game away to Benetton Treviso, the Connacht Rugby medical team have provided the following update.

Andrew Browne (ankle) has recovered from his ankle injury and will integrate fully into training this week.

Stacey Ili (ankle), Bundee Aki (ankle) and Eoin Griffin (chest) have recovered from their respective injuries and will integrate fully into training this week.

Cian Kelleher (hamstring) has recovered from his hamstring injury and will integrate fully into training this week.

Benetton Treviso v Connacht Rugby
Sunday 26 February
At Stadio Monigo, 1.30pm local time (12.30pm Ireland & UK)

Referee: Ian Davies (WRU, 57th competition game)
Assistant Referees: Wayne Davies (WRU), Guiseppe Vivarini (FIR)
Citing Commissioner: Marco Cordelli (FIR)



Sunday 26 February
At Stadio Monigo, 1.30pm local time (12.30pm Ireland & UK).

Referee: Ian Davies (WRU, 57th competition game)
Assistant Referees: Wayne Davies (WRU), Guiseppe Vivarini (FIR)
Citing Commissioner: Marco Cordelli (FIR)

Did you know?

  • Benetton Rugby Treviso’s most recent victory was 23-12 at home to Zebre on 23 December. Their only other victory at Stadio Monigo in the Guinness PRO12 this season was against Newport Gwent Dragons in round 4.
  • Connacht Rugby have won their last two Guinness PRO12 encounters but have not won three in a row in the regular season since March.
  • The Irishmen won their most recent away game in the Championship at Cardiff Blues in round 14 – their first away win for 11 months.
  • Connacht have lost only one of their last six fixtures with Treviso: 21-22 at Stadio Monigo in round 21 of the PRO12 last season.

Overall Guinness PRO12 head to head record:

Played 13, Treviso won 4, Connacht won 8 with 1 game drawn.


Date Venue B C Benetton Rugby Treviso scorers Connacht scorers
Sat 1 Mar 14 Sportsground 6 38 Mat Berquist(2P) Eoin McKeon(T) Kieran Marmion(T) Fionn Carr(T) Dan Parks(4C/P) John Muldoon(2T) Miah Nikora(C)
Fri 10 Oct 14 Stadio Monigo 6 9 Jayden Hayward(2P) Craig Ronaldson(3P)
Sun 1 Mar 15 Sportsground 5 53 Sam Christie(T) Matt Healy(2T) Tiernan O’Halloran(T) Danie Poolman(T) Denis Buckley(T) Jake Heenan(T) Aly Muldowney(T) Craig Ronaldson(6C/2P)
Fri 6 Nov 15 Sportsground 19 33 Edoardo Gori(T) Jayden Hayward(2T/2C) Matt Healy(T) Robbie Henshaw(T) Tom McCartney(T) Craig Ronaldson(3C/4P)
Fri 29 Apr 16 Stadio Monigo 22 21 Braam Steyn(T) Jayden Hayward(2C/P) Luca Morisi(T) Penalty Try(T) Rory Parata(T) John Cooney(3C) Fionn Carr(T) Peter Robb(T)
Sat 3 Dec 16 Sportsground 8 47 Braam Steyn(T) Ian McKinley(P) Danie Poolman(T) Dave Heffernan(T) Denis Buckley(T) John Cooney(T/4C) Marnitz Boshoff(C) Jack Carty(T/C) Tom McCartney(2T)



COMPARISON Treviso Connacht
Last 3 PRO12 results: 6 Jan – Dragons (A) L 8-26 7 Jan – Ospreys (A) L 7-29
  12 Feb – Leinster (H) L 14-40 12 Feb – Cardiff Blues (A) W 19-13
  18 Feb – Cardiff Blues (A) L 20-57 18 Feb – Dragons (H) W 14-9
PRO12 2016/17 11th – W2 D0 L13 – 11pts 8th – W6 D0 L8 – 29pts
Last 6 PRO12 form lWLlLl (5pts) WlLlwW (14pts)
Top try scorer 4 – Dean Budd 4 – Niyi Adeolokun
Top points scorer 66 – Tommaso Allan 68 – Jack Carty




Butler and Buckley back in starting XV for away trip to Treviso

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