Russia 14-42 Connacht
 
Two almost identical tries from winger Stephen Fitzgerald set up a comfortable win over a Russian side playing their final World Cup warm up game before departing for Japan next week.
 
Russia were competitive for large parts of the game and found themselves within one converted try of Connacht with 68 minutes on the clock.
 
When Stephen Fitzgerald latched onto a Niyi Adeolokun kick ahead to touch down it looked like Connacht would pull away and when he repeated the trick four minutes later, the result was never in doubt.
 
Connacht had the perfect start to the game when Tom Farrell’s grubber kick was picked up by his midfield partner Tom Daly who ran in under the posts. Darragh Leader added the conversion and went on to convert all of Connacht’s six tries with a one hundred per-cent kicking success off the tee.
 
By half time Connacht had added a second try when Leader scored and converted Connacht’s second try. Russia did respond on the scoreboard when their fullback and captain Vasily Artemyev broke from the Connacht 22. With just seven points between the teams at half time, it seemed that Russia may be capable of causing an upset.
 
Connacht started the second half the way the started the first when Jonny Murphy was on the end of a strong maul. Russia responded again with a try in the 55th minute but it was all one way traffic from there to the finish.
 
Fitzgerald’s brace then ended the game as a contest as Paul Boyle scored Connacht’s sixth and final try with two minutes remaining.
 
Connacht Team (Replacements in brackets)
(15-9) Darragh Leader, John Porch (Niyi Adeolokun), Tom Farrell, Tom Daly, Stephen Fitzgerald, David Horwitz (Conor Fitzgerald), Angus Lloyd (Stephen Kerins), (1-8) Denis Buckley (Matthew Burke), Jonny Murphy (Tom McCartney), Dominic Robertson-McCoy (Conor Kenny), Gavin Thornbury, Quinn Roux (Ultan Dillane), Eoin McKeon (Eoghan Masterson), Paul Boyle, Robin Copeland (Jarrad Butler).
 

Lock Quinn Roux is set to captain Connacht in a preseason friendly against Russia in Moscow on Saturday (Kick Off 5pm Irish Time).
 
He is named in a strong Connacht side that includes a blend of youth and experience as Andy Friend’s side target their second win of the preseason period.
 
Roux will be joined in the second row by Gavin Thornbury with Ultan Dillane named among the replacements. In the front row the experienced Denis Buckley, who played in Connacht’s last trip to Russia in 2015, starts at loosehead. Alongside him will be hooker Jonny Murphy and Dominic Robertson McCoy at tighthead.
 
In the back row, Eoin McKeon and Paul Boyle are named at blindside and openside respectively with Robin Copeland at number 8. Eoghan Masterson and skipper Jarrad Butler will be among the options on the bench.
 
In the back line, David Horwitz and Angus Lloyd will be the starting half back partnership while Tom Farrell and Tom Daly are in midfield.
 
The back three will be made up of Darragh Leader at full back with Stephen Fitzgerald and new signing John Porch on the wings.
 
At the pre game press conference earlier today, Andy Friend spoke about the importance of the fixture to Connacht’s preparations for the upcoming season; “We are in our seventh week of preseason training so this game is coming at a really good time for us. We have brought a team that includes a number of young players, so this is an opportunity for them to perform on an international stage. As is the nature of preseason friendly games, all our squad will get a decent run out so its going to be very worthwhile for us.”
 
Commenting on the Quinn Roux’s captaincy of the Connacht side for tomorrow’s game, Friend added: “It is great to have Quinn involved. He is a fantastic player for us, and his international experience is a great addition for our team and the players around him”.
 
Connacht Matchday Squad:
(15-9) Darragh Leader, John Porch, Tom Farrell, Tom Daly, Stephen Fitzgerald, David Horwitz, Angus Lloyd, (1-8) Denis Buckley, Jonny Murphy, Dominic Robertson-McCoy, Gavin Thornbury, Quinn Roux, Eoin McKeon, Paul Boyle, Robin Copeland.
Replacements (16-24): Tom McCartney, Matthew Burke, Conor Kenny, Ultan Dillane, Eoghan Masterson, Stephen Kerins, Conor Fitzgerald, Niyi Adeolokun, Jarrad Butler

Connacht Head Coach Andy Friend has announced a 24 man squad to travel to Moscow and take on the Russian National team in a preseason friendly on Saturday evening (Kick Off 5pm – Irish Time).
 
Connacht have selected a squad that includes a blend of youth and experience to play the Russians who are preparing for the World Cup in Japan where they will play Ireland on the 3rd of October.
 
This is the second of three preseason friendly fixtures for Connacht ahead of the upcoming schedule of PRO14 and Champions Cup rugby. Connacht defeated Oyonnax in France last month and will welcome neighbours Munster to the Sportsground on the 21st of September.
 
The Connacht squad features a mix of experienced players and others who have graduated from the Academy last season. Out-half Conor Fitzgerald is included in the 24 and he will be hoping for a similar display to what he produced in the Oyonnax win when he came off the bench to score a try which he then converted to give Connacht a one point victory
 
Elsewhere in the back line, centres Tom Farrell and Tom Daly are both included with Niyi Adeolokun, Stephen Fitzgerald, Daragh Leader and new signing John Porch among the back three options.
 
In the pack, there is a huge amount of experience available with prop Denis Buckley, second rows Ultan Dillane and Quinn Roux and back rows Eoin McKeon, Robin Copeland and Jarrad Butler all named in the squad.
 
The Connacht Squad will fly to Moscow on Wednesday evening and have an opportunity to train on Thursday and Friday before the game in the newly developed VTB Arena on Saturday evening.
 
Commenting ahead of the squad’s departure to Russia, Connacht Head Coach Andy Friend says that there are a number of benefits to this unique fixture; “We are delighted to accept the invitation from the Russian Rugby Union to travel to Moscow for this game. It has the obvious benefit of giving players some game time in what is a longer preseason that usual. It’s also another opportunity to build further on the group cohesion in the squad. For many of our younger players in particular, this is a unique opportunity to play in a country and a venue that not many players get to play in. We also have a handful of players who played for Connacht in a Challenge Cup fixture in Russia back in 2015 so there is a good mix among the group”.
 
The Head Coach also says he is extremely happy with how the squad have performed during the block of preseason training; “The squad have been putting an incredible effort into preparations for the coming season. We have been back in full training since July and we are progressing well. This is a longer preseason than normal due to rescheduling around the World Cup and that presents its challenges, but it also means we have more time to work on our detail and allow longer periods of rest and recovery. Over the past two weeks the Connacht Eagles side have also recorded back to back wins over Dragons and Ospreys in the Celtic Cup so that gives further confidence to those players involved”, Friend added.
 
Connacht Squad to travel to Moscow to play Russian National team

Forwards – Denis Buckley, Matthew Burke, Jonny Murphy, Tom McCartney, Dominic Robertson McCoy, Conor Kenny, Gavin Thornbury, Quinn Roux, Ultan Dillane, Eoin McKeon, Paul Boyle, Jarrad Butler, Robin Copeland, Eoghan Masterson.

Backs – Angus Lloyd, Stephen Kerins, Conor Fitzgerald, David Horwitz, Stephen Fitzgerald, Niyi Adeolokun, Tom Daly, Tom Farrell, John Porch, Darragh Leader.

Connacht Rugby can confirm the the squad will travel to Moscow next week for a pre-season friendly with the Russian National Team on Saturday 7th September.
 
The game will act as further preparation for our squad ahead of the new season, and a Rugby World Cup warm-up for the hosts.
 
Russia are in Ireland’s pool at the World Cup and the two sides will meet in Japan on Thursday 3rd October.
 
Further details of the fixture will be announced in due course.

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