Connacht Rugby have announced that Tom Daly, Peter Robb, Dominic Robertson-McCoy, Shane Delahunt and Conor Kenny have all signed contract extensions with the province.
 
The signings come as a boost to Connacht as they continue to finalise their squad ahead of the 2020/21 season. Daly, Robb and Robertson-McCoy have all signed two-year extensions to keep them at the Sportsground until the end of the 2021/22 season, while Delahunt and Kenny have signed one-year extensions with the province.
 
Tom Daly joined Connacht in December 2018 and made his debut in the interprovincial derby with Munster in January 2019. In the 12 months since he has played over 20 times for Andy Friend’s side. Daly has previously been capped for Ireland at U20 level and is also a former captain of the Ireland Rugby 7s team.
 
Centre Peter Robb featured prominently in Connacht’s Guinness PRO12 winning season when he made 12 appearances throughout that campaign. The 25 year old has recovered from a number of recent injuries and has amassed 10 appearances so far this season.
 
Dominic Robertson-McCoy is now in his fourth season with Connacht. The New Zealand born Irish-qualified tighthead has made 50 appearances in the Connacht jersey – 16 of them coming in the current campaign.
 
Shane Delahunt joined Connacht through the Academy in 2014 and made his debut for the province in September of that year. The 26 year old also featured in Connacht’s Championship winning season in 2015/16 while still an academy player. He has a total of 74 appearances for Connacht.
 
Conor Kenny is another player to have come through the Connacht Academy, playing his club rugby with Buccaneers RFC and Connacht Schools with Garbally College where he won a Senior Cup medal in 2015. He has made 5 appearances in the Connacht senior side so far this season.
 
Commenting on the latest contract extensions, Connacht Head Coach Andy Friend said: “We are delighted to have Tom Daly, Peter Robb, Dominic Robertson-McCoy, Shane Delahunt and Conor Kenny all signing contract extensions with Connacht. During our Champions Cup and PRO14 campaigns we have already seen the depth we need in the squad to perform on two fronts. We expect to have more announcements in the coming weeks as we are working to finalise our squad going into the 2020/21 season”.

Connacht have been boosted by the return of a host of players ahead of the Champions Cup clash with Toulouse on Saturday (Kick off 3:15pm). Bundee Aki and Jack Carty are available for selection following a two week rest period, as is Ultan Dillane who was rested last week.

Finlay Bealham has returned to full training and is available for selection after completing his return to play protocols. He was involved in a collision in the game against Ulster.

In addition, Rory Burke (neck), Jarrad Butler (illness), Colby Fainga’a (knee), Matt Healy (thigh) and Peter Robb (head) are all reintegrating into training this week following their respective injuries.

The news is also very positive on Conor Fitzgerald following a scan on his ankle. He will return to full training next week. Peter McCabe (ankle) and Tom Farrell (shoulder) are progressing well with their injuries and they will also look to return to training next week.

Conor Kenny (head) sustained a head injury in the Leinster game and will follow graduated return to play protocols. Stephen Fitzgerald sustained a knee injury in the same game and is awaiting scan results to determine the extent of his injuries.

Meanwhile, Matthew Burke (thigh), Cillian Gallagher (shoulder), Darragh Leader (calf), Sean O’Brien (shoulder) and Quinn Roux (hand) remain on the medium to long term injured list.

Tickets for the clash with the French Top 14 Champions are available to purchase here.

Connacht Scrum Half Caolin Blade is set to captain Connacht as they travel to Kingspan Stadium to take on Ulster in the Pro14 on Friday (Kick off 7:35pm).
 
Blade has been a central figure for Connacht of late having taken part in all of the province’s 12 games of the current campaign. The 25 year old Monivea man will continue his half back partnership with Conor Fitzgerald for the trip to Belfast.
 
Elsewhere in the back line, Peter Robb has returned from injury to partner Tom Daly in midfield while Tiernan O’Halloran starts at full back in a back three that includes John Porch and Matt Healy on the wings.
 
Up front, Paddy McAllister is another to return from injury in time for the interpro clash. The loosehead prop joins a front row with hooker Dave Heffernan and Finlay Bealham at tighthead.
 
With Quinn Roux picking up a hand injury against Munster that will likely keep him out of action until the end of January, Andy Friend has been forced to make a change to his second row. Ultan Dillane will line up with Joe Maksymiw who came off the bench last weekend with 20 year old Roscommon man Niall Murray named among the replacements.
 
In the back row, Robin Copeland comes into the starting team at number 8. He will be flanked by Eoin McKeon and Paul Boyle at blindside and openside respectively.
 
Commenting ahead of the game, Connacht Head Coach Andy Friend said: “We have had a short turnaround from the Munster game, and with Christmas in the middle of that, there isn’t a huge volume of training the squad can get through. We are boosted by the return of Paddy McAllister, Matt Healy and Peter Robb, and those fresh legs are important as we head into the tenth weekend in a row of Pro14 and Champions Cup action”.
 
“Ulster have a fantastic record at home and are unbeaten in Kingspan since we defeated them some 14 months ago. So, we’re looking forward to another competitive interpro game in front of a passionate home crowd.”

 
Connacht Matchday Squad V Ulster (Fri 27 Dec, 7:35pm)
 
(15-9): Tiernan O’Halloran, John Porch, Tom Daly, Peter Robb, Matt Healy, Conor Fitzgerald, Caolin Blade (Capt) (1-8): Paddy McAllister, Dave Heffernan, Finlay Bealham, Ultan Dillane, Joe Maksymiw, Eoin McKeon, Paul Boyle, Robin Copeland.

Replacements: Shane Delahunt, Denis Buckley, Dominic Robertson McCoy, Niall Murray, Eoghan Masterson, Stephen Kerins, Kyle Godwin, Stephen Fitzgerald.

Connacht Head Coach Andy Friend has made three changes to the Connacht starting team for the visit of Benetton to the Sportsground on Saturday (Kick Off 7:35pm).
 
Darragh Leader, Peter Robb and Paul Boyle all come into the side as Connacht hope to bounce back from a defeat away to Scarlets on the opening day of the season.
 
Leader’s inclusion on the wing sees him come into a back three with Matt Healy on the opposite wing and Tiernan O’Halloran at full back, while Robb will form a midfield partnership with Kyle Godwin.
 
Conor Fitzgerald and Caolin Blade will continue their half-back partnership with Kieran Marmion named among the replacements.
 
Paul Boyle at number 8 is the only change among the forwards with Captain Jarrad Butler named at openside and Eoghan Masterson at blindside. Masterson’s brother Sean is named among the replacements, with the 21 year old Academy player set for his senior debut having impressed for the Connacht Eagles in their five wins so far in the Celtic Cup.
 
The front five remains unchanged with Paddy McAllister retained after his debut against Scarlets in a front row that includes hooker Tom McCartney and Finlay Bealham at tighthead. The side is completed with locks Gavin Thornbury and Quinn Roux.
 
Speaking ahead of the game, Connacht Head Coach Andy Friend said: “While we were disappointed with the result last weekend, there is huge anticipation among the squad for our first home game of the season. We have set some really ambitious targets for the season ahead, particularly around our home form. A packed Sportsground is a very difficult place for away teams to come and I expect a great atmosphere when we face Benetton on Saturday evening”.
 
Commenting on his team selection, Friend added: “We have made three changes to our starting team from last weekend. Some of those were down to one or two injuries we picked up and some are down to the depth we have in the squad. We are prepared for a long season where we will need a large squad of players to compete in the Pro14 and European competitions. This week we have named Sean Masterson among the replacements. He is an excellent young back row who has impressed already for the Connacht Eagles side. I’m confident that he is ready for that step up to Pro14 rugby this weekend”.
 
 
Connacht Matchday Squad:

(15-9) Tiernan O’Halloran, Darragh Leader, Kyle Godwin, Peter Robb, Matt Healy, Conor Fitzgerald, Caolin Blade, (1-8) Paddy McAllister, Tom McCartney, Finlay Bealham, Gavin Thornbury, Quinn Roux, Eoghan Masterson, Jarrad Butler (Capt), Paul Boyle.

Replacements (16-23): Shane Delahunt, Denis Buckley, Dominic Robertson-McCoy, Ultan Dillane, Sean Masterson, Kieran Marmion, Tom Farrell, Stephen Fitzgerald.

Hooker Shane Delahunt and centre Peter Robb have both extended their contracts with Connacht ahead of the 2019/20 season.
 
Delahunt joined Connacht through the academy in 2014 and made his debut for the province in September of that year. The 25 year old also featured in Connacht’s Championship winning season in 2015/16 while still an academy player. He has a total of 62 appearances for Connacht – 19 coming this season under current Head Coach Andy Friend.
 
Peter Robb is another player who featured in that PRO12 winning season when he made twelve appearances in total. The 24 year old has recovered from two long term injuries over the past two seasons and has featured in Connacht’s last four PRO14 games.
 
Announcing the latest contract extensions, Connacht Head Coach Andy Friend said: “Shane Delahunt and Peter Robb are two players who are very much part of our plans as we finalise our squad for next season. Our ambition is to be regularly competing at the highest level and bring further success to Connacht Rugby. To do this we need real depth in our squad and players putting each other under pressure for places.
 
Eoin Griffin has also announced that he will be retiring from rugby at the end of the current season. Griffin has made over 100 appearances for his native province, but his progress has been hampered by injury this season.
 
Meanwhile Craig Ronaldson, James Mitchell, James Connolly, Conan O’Donnell, Peter McCabe, Peter Claffey, James Cannon and Conor McKeon will all be leaving Connacht at the end of the current season. McKeon has been affected by injury and will be retiring from the game.
 
Commenting on the departures, Head Coach Andy Friend said: “Eoin Griffin has been a fantastic servant of Connacht Rugby with over 100 appearances for his home province and we wish him the very best as he announces his retirement. The nature of professional rugby is that a player’s longevity at a club is finite. To all of those men who are leaving Connacht this season, a sincere thank you for all that you’ve given to the jersey. We wish you every success for the future.

Connacht Head Coach Andy Friend has made a host of changes to the side that lost to Sale Sharks in the European Challenge Cup Quarter Final last weekend. His side travel to Zebre for a vital Guinness PRO14 clash on Saturday (Kick Off 5:30pm Irish time) – the result of which will have a huge bearing on Connacht’s hopes of reaching the knock out stages of the competition and ultimately qualifying for next season’s Heineken Champions Cup.
 
Among those recalled is Captain Jarrad Butler at number 8, who comes into a back row alongside Eoin McKeon and Colby Fainga’a at blindside and openside respectively.
 
Ireland international lock Ultan Dillane comes back into the second row alongside Gavin Thornbury, while in the front row, props Denis Buckley and Dominic Robertson-McCoy are selected alongside hooker Dave Heffernan.
 
Jack Carty and Caolin Blade form the half-back pairing, with Carty shaking off an arm injury that caused him to be withdrawn last weekend.
 
In the midfield, Peter Robb comes in for his third start of the season alongside the impressive Tom Farrell.
 
In the back three Tiernan O’Halloran is named at full-back with Matt Healy and Darragh Leader on the wings.
 
Ahead of the game, the Connacht Head Coach says that a win this weekend is vital as his side fight it out for a PRO14 playoff spot; “We have picked a strong side and a side capable of going to Zebre and winning the game. We are fully aware of the dangers that Zebre can present, particularly when they are at home. There are a number of our boys who were not involved in Europe last weekend, so they are coming back in fresh after that break and that brings more energy to the group”, Friend said.
 
On Connacht’s overall performance this season, Friend added; “We said all along that we want to be in the knockout stages of the PRO14 and with three games to go, our destiny is still in our own hands. If we keep winning we will be in that playoff spot so that is our sole focus away to Zebre on Saturday”.
 
 
Kick-off 5:30pm (Irish Time)
(15-9) Tiernan O’Halloran, Darragh Leader, Tom Farrell, Peter Robb, Matt Healy, Jack Carty, Caolin Blade, (1-8) Denis Buckley, Dave Heffernan, Dominic Robertson-McCoy, Ultan Dillane, Gavin Thornbury, Eoin McKeon, Colby Fainga’a, Jarrad Butler (Capt).
Replacements (16-23): Shane Delahunt, Peter McCabe, Conan O’Donnell, Joe Maksymiw, Robin Copeland, Kieran Marmion, Tom Daly, Cian Kelleher.

Glasgow Warriors 44
Connacht 17
 
Match Report courtesy of pro14.org
 
George Horne took less than a minute to score Glasgow Warriors’ first try as they ran out 43-17 winners over Connacht in the Guinness PRO14 on Friday night.
 
Dave Rennie’s side went on to score six tries in total as they moved back to within a point of Conference A leaders Munster.
 
Robbie Nairn and Grant Stewart also both bagged doubles in the win while the visitors did manage three scores of their own through Stephen Fitzgerald, Paul Boyle and Tom Daly.
 
Horne opened the scoring with 45 seconds on the clock after some great work by Kyle Steyn to dance through the onrushing defenders and find Horne on his inside who finished the job. Brandon Thomson added the extra two from a tight angle.
 
And with 15 minutes on the clock Thomson extended the Glasgow lead to 10 points with another accurate kick at goal.
 
Connacht got themselves into the game and on the scoresheet via a Stephen Fitzgerald try after he benefited from a bouncing ball.
 
On the half-hour mark Tim Swinson restored Glasgow’s double figure advantage when he wriggled over the whitewash from two metres out.
 
And Glasgow made it three first-half tries through Stewart after a catch and drive came down over the Connacht try line.
 
To make matters worse for tConnacht, James Cannon received ten minutes in the sin bin for bringing the maul down and Thomson nailed the conversion to make it four from four from the tee.
 
After the break Glasgow secured the bonus point after Stewart pulled off the back of a maul and charged over the line from ten metres out for his second try of the match.
 
With just over an hour played Connacht dug deep and secured their second try of the night when Boyle buried his way over. The missed conversion from Kyle Godwin meant that Connacht still trailed by more than 20 points however.
 
With the final ten minutes approaching the two sides exchanged further tries with Glasgow dotting down first through Robbie Nairn and Connacht responded almost instantly as Daly got another one back.
 
Connacht supporters will have been pleased to see Godwin land their first points from the tee but their joy was cut short when Nairn went down the other end to grab his second of the night leaving Connacht with two much to do with too little time remaining.

The Connacht management team have released the latest squad update in advance of tomorrow evening’s friendly away to Bristol Bears.

 

Hooker:
Tom McCartney (ankle) and Jonny Murphy (chest) are progressing well with their respective injuries and will integrate into team training next week.

Lock:
Peter Claffey has returned to full training this week following his calf injury.

Gavin Thornbury is progressing well with his shoulder injury sustained in pre-season and will integrate into team training next week.

Back Row:
Robin Copeland has returned to full training this week following his hip injury.

Jarrad Butler (chest), Eoin McKeon (shoulder) and Sean O’Brien (calf) are all being managed this week by the medical and performance team for minor knocks.

Eoghan Masterson has undergone surgery for the thumb injury he sustained in the Brive pre-season fixture and will be out of action until October.

Outhalf:
David Horwitz is undergoing rehabilitation for a hamstring injury and will look to return to training shortly.

Centre:
Peter Robb is managing a neck injury and will partake in light training this week under the supervision of the medical team.

The starting XV to face Bristol Bears will be named later today (Thursday).

The Connacht management have released the following squad update ahead of Saturday’s Guinness PRO14 clash with Leinster at The Sportsground.

Prop:
JP Cooney is recovering from hamstring surgery and will be out of action until May.

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

Lock:
Andrew Browne will integrate fully into training this week as he returns from his shoulder injury.

Back Row:
Sean O’Brien is continuing his return to training following his head injury against Ospreys.

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

Centre:
Peter Robb sustained a fracture to his hand in the game versus Glasgow and will miss the remainder of the 2017-18 season.

Back Three:
Rory Scholes is progressing well following his ankle injury and will return to action in late April / early May.

Cian Kelleher is progressing well following his ankle surgery last month and will be out of action until May.

Connacht Rugby are delighted to confirm that centre Peter Robb has extended his contract with the province. The 23-year-old made his debut for Connacht against Russian side Enisei STM during the 2015-16 Championship winning season and has gone on to make 26 appearances for the senior side.

Commenting on the contract extension, Connacht Head Coach Kieran Keane said: “We are delighted that Peter has extended his contract into next season. He is a big powerful player and gives us increased options in our midfield. He has been unlucky with injury this season, but he has worked really hard to get back to his best over the past few weeks.”

Speaking after signing his contract extension, Peter Robb said: “I am delighted to have signed a new contract with Connacht. It is great to be back on the pitch again over the past few weeks and I am determined to perform to the best of my ability in the Connacht jersey. I have been honoured to represent Connacht over the past four years and to have experienced success with the club. As a player group we are determined to bring further success to the province.”

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