Prop Paddy McAllister is set to make his first competitive start in a Connacht jersey as his side travel to the Scarlets for the opening round of the Guinness Pro14 on Saturday (k/o 5:15pm).
 
McAllister, who signed from Gloucester in the summer, made his debut in Connacht’s pre-season friendly win over against Munster at The Sportsground last Saturday.
 
He joins an experienced front row that includes tighthead Finlay Bealham and hooker Tom McCartney. Behind them will be Gavin Thornbury and Quinn Roux, both of whom impressed in Connacht’s three pre-season wins.
 
Captain Jarrad Butler will wear the now familiar number 8 jersey in a back row alongside Eoghan Masterson and Colby Fainga’a at blindside and openside respectively.
 
With Jack Carty away on international duty at the Rugby World Cup, Conor Fitzgerald is named at out-half alongside scrum-half Caolin Blade. Elsewhere in the back line, Tom Daly and Kyle Godwin will form the centre partnership with wingers Matt Healy and Stephen Fitzgerald and full-back Tiernan O’Halloran completing the side.
 
Ahead of the opening game of the season, Head Coach Andy Friend commented on the depth that will be required in the Connacht squad as they prepare for a season of PRO14 and Champions Cup action: “We used fifty players last season and we expect to use a similar number this time around. We have come through a really good pre-season where we have won three games from three and more importantly we have got to do a lot of work on the training field. I think we are definitely further along as a squad compared to where we were this time last season”.
 
Commenting on the challenge of the Scarlets, Friend added: “We are expecting a hugely competitive game. While they are missing players away on World Cup duty, they also have real depth in their squad. Both sides will be targeting a win, so I think we are in for quality game”.
 
Connacht Matchday Squad:
(15-9) Tiernan O’Halloran, Stephen Fitzgerald, Kyle Godwin, Tom Daly, Matt Healy, Conor Fitzgerald, Caolin Blade, (1-8) Paddy McAllister, Tom McCartney, Finlay Bealham, Gavin Thornbury, Quinn Roux, Eoghan Masterson, Colby Fainga’a, Jarrad Butler (Capt).
Replacements (16-23): Shane Delahunt, Denis Buckley, Dominic Robertson-McCoy, Ultan Dillane, Eoin McKeon, Kieran Marmion, Peter Robb, Darragh Leader.
 

New arrival Paddy McAllister talks to us about his first few weeks in Connacht, pre-season so far and embracing the West of Ireland culture.

You also get a sneak peek at some of the new training gear coming your way soon! 🔥
 


 
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Connacht Rugby have announced the signing of prop Paddy McAllister from English Premiership side Gloucester.
 
McAllister joined Gloucester from Aurillac in France having previously made 44 appearances for his native Ulster. He has played for Ireland at Schools, U19 & U20 level.
 
Announcing the signing, Connacht Forwards Coach Jimmy Duffy said: “We are delighted to announce that Paddy McAllister will be joining Connacht at the beginning of next season. Paddy is a powerful scrummager and strong ball carrier. He is a player that I have been impressed with and I think he will be a good addition to our squad next season.”
 
Commenting on the move to Connacht, Paddy McAllister said; “I am delighted to sign for Connacht and hugely looking forward to joining the squad next season. There is no doubt that Connacht are a team on the rise. There is huge excitement surrounding Connacht at the moment both on and off the field and I hope to contribute to that from next season. I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank the players, staff and supporters of Gloucester for their support during my time with the club and for my family for their continued support.”

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