Jarrad Butler will become the latest Connacht centurion in tomorrow’s BKT United Rugby Championship clash away to the Ospreys (k/o 7.35pm).  

Butler joined Connacht in 2017 and has quickly reached a century of appearances, having spent three seasons as captain. 

Meanwhile lock Darragh Murray and winger Adam Byrne are both in line to make their Connacht debuts, with the pair named among the replacements. 

In the front row there are starts for Dylan Tierney-Martin and Jack Aungier while Denis Buckley is retained. The second row consists of Oisín Dowling and Gavin Thornbury, while number 8 Butler is joined by flankers Shamus Hurley-Langton and Conor Oliver. 

Caolin Blade comes in at scrum-half to partner captain Jack Carty, while there’s a return to the starting team for Tom Farrell beside David Hawkshaw in the centre. The final change sees Alex Wootton come onto the wings, with John Porch and Tiernan O’Halloran both retained. 

Commenting on the team selection, Director of Rugby Andy Friend says: 

“Jarrad reaching 100 caps is a brilliant achievement. He’s a genuine leader within the group both on and off the field, and it’s a testament to him that he has hit a century of appearances in just six seasons with us. 

We are continuing to keep the matchday squad fresh with a few o changes, whilst still selecting a 23 that is more than capable of picking up a win, albeit against difficult opposition in the Ospreys.  

I feel like all of the hard work that has been done from pre-season to date is starting to be seen through our on field performances. We’re all keen to keep that momentum going and finish this block on a high.”  

CONNACHT RUGBY MATCHDAY SQUAD VS OSPREYS  

Saturday 29th October 2022, 19:35 @ Swansea.com Stadium 

Number/Name/Caps 

15. Tiernan O’Halloran (208)
14. Alex Wootton (36)
13. Tom Farrell (82)
12. David Hawkshaw (6)
11. John Porch (65)
10. Jack Carty (183) (C)
9. Caolin Blade (153)
1. Denis Buckley (214)
2. Dylan Tierney-Martin (9)
3. Jack Aungier (37)
4. Oisín Dowling (30)
5. Gavin Thornbury (67)
6. Shamus Hurley-Langton (5)
7. Conor Oliver (46)
8. Jarrad Butler (99)

16.Grant Stewart (3)
17. Jordan Duggan (29)
18.Sam Illo (3)
19. Darragh Murray *
20. Paul Boyle (78)
21. Kieran Marmion (214)
22. Tom Daly (65)
23. Adam Byrne *

This Saturday Connacht travel to Swansea where they take on the Ospreys at the Swansea.com Stadium in Round 7 of the BKT United Rugby Championship (7.35pm).

Last Friday Connacht got a much needed win at home when they beat Scarlets 36-14 to get a bonus point win. Speaking to media ahead of Saturday’s game Jarrad Butler was asked what the thoughts were from the squad after the win?

“In the forwards review we were really happy with our 100% scrum launch which was a positive against a good team like Scarlets and our line-out defence was very good as well”

“Not everything was perfect but we are in a much better place this week”

The toughness of this current Connacht team has been talked about of late by media, Jarrad was asked if there’s a harder edge to this Connacht side compared to previous ones.

“I think we have had a real strong focus on defence this season”

“I think you’re seeing guys really fronting up physically and I think that is creating a better energy around the field”

“When you have someone like Conor Oliver shooting out of line and putting in a really big hit which has a flow on effect to the next person”

“Its a lot of fun to play when you are out there but I also feel like its a lot of fun to watch as well”

Connacht had a tough start to the season with three away games on the trot to Ulster, Stormers and Bulls, losing all three but since returning home have got two wins from three. Jarrad spoke about the difference made over the last few games.

“I think defensively we’ve been very good and in patches we’ve been good in attack”

“Earlier on in the season we talked about individual errors letting us down but we are now seeing more passes sticking and being able to build phases”

“The big thing now is discipline”

“I think we are trying to show so much intent that we are giving away a few too many penalties”

One of the big major improvements in Connacht’s game over the last three matches played has been their set piece. Jarrad spoke about the work and detail the coaches give the side.

“Having Cullie and Dewald who are very particular in what they want around the set piece and that contact area leaves no margin for error”

“Things happen and errors occur so not everything goes as planned but its clear what went wrong because the two guys are clear with their messaging of what they want from us”

“As a forward pack we don’t feel we’ve put in a proper dominant display just yet so we feel there is still plenty more growth with us”

Attention now turns to Ospreys, both teams will be missing their international stars but the contest will still be just as tough.

“This week is going to be huge for us to win” said Butler

“If we can come away with a win on Saturday it will finish this block of games on a real positive one for us”

“We know how good Ospreys are so again the challenge is massive but we are really looking forward to”

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