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.

 

Connacht Head Coach Kieran Keane has announced his starting team to face Ulster in the Sportsground on Saturday (K.O. 7:35pm – Live TG4). The clash with Ulster is the first in the series of Christmas interpros with clashes away to Leinster (Jan 1st) and Munster (Jan 6th) to come.

 

Tiernan O’Halloran is back in the side at full back and is joined by Niyi Adeolokun and Matt Healy, who scored four tries in Connacht’s win over Brive last weekend. Jack Carty and Kieran Marmion form the half back pairing after Marmion was rested in the win against Brive.

 

In the pack Denis Coulson comes in at loose head in place of the injured Denis Buckley. He is joined in the front row by hooker Shane Delahunt and Finlay Bealham at tight head. In the back-row flanker Jarrad Butler returns from an injury he picked up in the victory at home to Munster in October.

 

Connacht have installed additional terracing in the Sportsground to accommodate the ticket demand for the Christmas fixture and Head coach Kieran Keane says he expects the home crowd will be have a bearing on the game. “The crowd have been massive for us so far this season and the place will be in festive spirit on Saturday. That has a huge impact on players. That can create an 8 or 10 point turn around. Just look how the players responded last week and the night we played Munster. We want to recreate that atmosphere and that performance again on Saturday”

#CONvULS

Kick-off 7:35pm:

(15-9) Tiernan O’Halloran, Niyi Adeleokun, Bundee Aki, Tom Farrell, Matt Healy, Jack Carty, Kieran Marmion, (1-8) Denis Coulson, Shane Delahunt, Finlay Bealham, Ultan Dillane, Quinn Roux, Eoghan Masterson, Jarrad Butler, John Muldoon (Capt)

Replacements (16-23): Tom McCartney, Peter McCabe, Conor Carey, James Cannon, Naulia Dawai, James Mitchell, Eoin Griffin, Darragh Leader.

 

 

 

Head Coach Kieran Keane has made seven changes to the Connacht side that secured a bonus-point win against the Southern Kings last week as the team travel to Rodney Parade to take on the Dragons tomorrow night (7.30pm).

Rory Scholes, Caolin Blade, Denis Coulson, Conor Carey, Quinn Roux and Jake Heenan all come into the side for their first starts of the season as Eoghan Masterson comes back in for his second start.

Scholes is set to make his competitive debut for the province on the wing in place of Matt Healy.

Blade is included in the side at scrum-half in place of Irish international Kieran Marmion, who is named among the replacements.

The other five changes are in the pack with two alterations in the front row. Coulson makes his first start for Connacht at loosehead prop after coming off the bench to make his debut in the win over the Kings with Carey starting at tighthead prop.

Ireland international Roux and Heenan also come into the side for their first starts of the season with Roux in the second row and Heenan in the back row.

Masterson, a try-scorer off the bench last week, replaces the injured Sean O’Brien.

With six points from two home games, Connacht are on the road for the first time this season in Wales and Assistant Coach Nigel Carolan is not underestimating the challenge posed by Bernard Jackman’s Dragons side.

Speaking to reporters earlier this week, Carolan said: “Bernard Jackman is trying to rebuild the Dragons and create a strong identity, much like he did in Grenoble. They will be a tight-knit group and very difficult to play against. They have some real firepower with Ashton Hewitt, Zane Kirchner, and the boot of Gavin Henson. It is going to be a very difficult game for us and we have to make sure we build on last week and are more effective than we were against the Kings.”

#DRAvCON

Please note this game is not televised but follow @ConnachtRugby on Twitter for live updates from Rodney Parade.

Kick-off 7.30pm:

(15-9) Tiernan O’Halloran, Darragh Leader, Tom Farrell, Bundee Aki, Rory Scholes, Jack Carty, Caolin Blade, (1-8) Denis Coulson, Tom McCartney, Conor Carey, Quinn Roux, James Cannon, Eoghan Masterson, Jake Heenan, John Muldoon.

Replacements (16-23): Dave Heffernan, Peter McCabe, Dominic Robertson-McCoy, Gavin Thornbury, Jarrad Butler, Kieran Marmion, Steve Crosbie, Eoin Griffin.

 

We are delighted to announce that Denis Coulson has signed for the province from French side Grenoble. The 23-year-old prop is a former Ireland Under 20 international who made 29 appearances for Grenoble in the French Top 14 over the past three seasons.

Before his departure to France on an academy contract, Coulson represented Leinster at underage level and St Michael’s College.

Commenting on his latest signing, Connacht Head Coach Kieran Keane said: “Denis is a quality player and I am delighted that he has signed for us ahead of the new season. We have an exciting season ahead with the new PRO14 Championship and the arrival of Denis will add to the competition for places in our front row”.

Speaking on his arrival in the Sportsground, Denis Coulson added: “I am hugely excited to be returning to play in Ireland with Connacht. There is a fantastic atmosphere in the Sportsground and I can’t wait to play my first game there. With the new season kicking off on the 2nd of September I will be hoping to integrate into the squad as quickly as possible”.

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