The Connacht management team have made six changes to their starting XV, as the province aims to secure at home knockout tie in tomorrow’s EPCR Challenge Cup clash with Newcastle Falcons (k/o 5.30pm).
 
There are starts for Denis Buckley, Shane Delahunt, Leva Fifita, Shamus Hurley-Langton, Conor Fitzgerald and the fit-again Adam Byrne.
 
Fresh off his Ireland inclusion in the Six Nations, Finlay Bealham forms the front row with Buckley and Delahunt, while Josh Murphy keeps his place in the second row. The back row is completed by captain Jarrad Butler at number 8, and openside flanker Conor Oliver.
 
Colm Reilly is retained at scrum-half, while the Cathal Forde-Byron Ralston combo at centre continues after impressive performances last weekend. Byrne is named on the right wing, with Alex Wootton on the left and Mack Hansen again named at full-back.
 
A losing bonus point ensures a home tie in the Round of 16, but a bonus point win could also mean potential home games further in the knockout stages.
 
Commenting on the team selection, Director of Rugby Andy Friend says:
 
“It’s been a good Challenge Cup campaign for us so far, but tomorrow’s game is very important in mapping out our potential route in the knockout stages. We want to play as many games as possible at our home so we travel to England knowing every point matters.
 
Newcastle brought huge amounts of physicality to The Sportsground last month so it’s up to us to match that at their home turf, and as always away from home we then need to take our chances when the opportunities arise.”

 
CONNACHT RUGBY MATCHDAY 23 VS NEWCASTLE FALCONS
Saturday 21st January, 17:30 @ Kingston Park

Number/Name/Caps
15. Mack Hansen (23)
14. Adam Byrne (4)
13. Byron Ralston (11)
12. Cathal Forde (6)
11. Alex Wootton (39)
10. Conor Fitzgerald (62)
9. Colm Reilly (16)
1. Denis Buckley (221)
2. Shane Delahunt (123)
3. Finlay Bealham (184)
4. Leva Fifita (21)
5. Josh Murphy (10)
6. Shamus Hurley-Langton (11)
7. Conor Oliver (53)
8. Jarrad Butler (106) (C)

Replacements
16. Dylan Tierney-Martin (14)
17. Jordan Duggan (33)
18. Jack Aungier (42)
19. Darragh Murray (4)
20. Ciaran Booth (4)
21. Caolin Blade (160)
22. Tom Daly (70)
23. Tom Farrell (89)

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