Connacht Rugby can confirm that the following players will be leaving the province at the end of the current season: Naulia Dawai, Stacey Ili, Andrew Deegan, Denis Coulson, Cormac Brennan, Pat O’Toole and Steve Crosbie.

Commenting on the departures, CEO Willie Ruane said: “I want to take this opportunity to thank each of the players for the significant contributions they have made to Connacht Rugby over the past few seasons and to wish them well in the future.”

At Connacht’s last home game of the season against Leinster, supporters will have an opportunity to show their appreciation to all the players leaving the club at the end of the season.

A further announcement will be made in the coming weeks in relation to other players whose contracts are currently scheduled to finish at the end of the season.

 

Match Preview from pro14rugby.org

Another crucial Conference A clash. This time we face Zebre at the Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi for the first time this season. We currently sit fifth with Zebre sixth in Conference A.

 

TV: TG4 from 1.10pm.
Twitter: Follow our live commentary from Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi on Twitter at #ZEBvCON
Match centre:
Follow in game stats through our match centre.

 

What’s at stake? Zebre’s comeback victory over Ulster in Round Five was the highlight in an otherwise tricky season, losing their last four league matches.

But a victory would trim the gap to Connacht who are six points ahead of the Italians in the standings.

Similarly, Connacht’s season has been marred by inconsistency but they have won two of their last three matches including impressive victories over Munster and the Toyota Cheetahs.

A win for Connacht could see them leapfrog Cardiff Blues in the table and trim the gap to third-placed Cheetahs

 

Team news (Zebre): The return of nine internationals to the Zebre squad should give them the boost they need to take on the Irish province.

There is also good news on the injury front with David Sisi and George Biagi return to the squad. Baigi will captain the side against Connacht.

 

Team news (Connacht): Connacht Head Coach Kieran Keane has included new signing Pita Ahki among his starting XV for the first time.

Keane has also going for a new half back pairing with Steve Crosbie lining up alongside Kieran Marmion at scrum half following his return from international duty. In the pack Shane Delahunt, who scored two tries against Cardiff, starts at hooker where he is flanked by Denis Buckley at loosehead and Finlay Bealham at tighthead.

 

Talking points: Head coach Kieran Keane said: “While we were disappointed not to beat Cardiff last week, I was proud of the boys and the way they battled to take two points from the game. In this competition it is really important to do well against teams in our conference.”
“We will face a big challenge against Zebre on Saturday. They have made it difficult against a lot of teams so far this season particularly when they are at home. We will need to be at our best to beat them.”

 

Key Battle: Giulio Bisegni v Tom Farrell

Giulio Bisegni has been a rock for the Zebre side so far this season and was impressive again in the defeat to Munster.

The centre dotted down in the 35th minute but couldn’t prevent a 36-19 defeat. However with internationals returning around him, Bisegni could be a key cog in the Zebre machine.

Tom Farrell has enjoyed a consistent run in the Connacht line up and has been impressive throughout the season.
The 24-year-old has more offloads than anyone else in the league and has also made 329 metres so far in this campaign.
Did you know? Zebre secured one of only three wins last season when they beat Connacht 25-22 the last time the Irish province travelled to Parma.

 

Key Stat: No player has more offloads in the Guinness PRO14 so far this season than Thomas Farrell (23).

 

Zebre: Matteo Minozzi, Mattia Bellini, Giulio Bisegni, Tommaso Boni, Giovanb, attista Venditti, Carlo Canna, Marcello Violi, Andrea Lovotti, Oliviero Fabiani, Dario Chistolini, Leonard Krumov, George Biagi, Maxime Mbandà, Johan Meyer, Renato Giammarioli
Replacements: Luhandre Luus, Cruze Ah-Nau, Eduardo Bello, David Sisi, Jacopo Sarto, Guglielmo Palazzani, Serafin Bordoli, Ciaran Gaffney

 

Connacht: Tiernan O’Halloran, Cian Kelleher, Pita Ahki, Tom Farrell, Matt Healy, Steve Crosbie, Kieran Marmion, Denis Buckley, Shane Delahunt, Finlay Bealham, Ultan Dillane, James Cannon, Eoghan Masterson, James Connolly, John Muldoon
Replacements: Dave Heffernan, Peter McCabe, Conor Carey, Cillian Gallagher, Naulia Dawai, James Mitchell, Jack Carty, Eoin Griffin.

 

Referee: George Clancy (IRFU)
AR1: Sean Gallagher (IRFU) AR2: Gianluca Gnecchi (FIR) TMO: Leo Colgan (IRFU)

 

We return to European action next weekend away to Brive followed by a return leg at home in the Sportsground.

 

 

 

Connacht Head Coach Kieran Keane has included new signing Pita Ahki among his starting XV to face Zebre on Saturday (K.O. 1:15pm Live on TG4). Ahki who came off the bench to make his debut against Cardiff last week, will make his first start for the province as they travel to Italy for the PRO14 clash.

 

The Connacht side features a new half back pairing with Steve Crosbie starting at out-half and Kieran Marmion back at scrum half following his return from international duty. In the pack Shane Delahunt, who scored two tries against Cardiff starts at hooker where he is flanked by Denis Buckley at loosehead and Finlay Bealham at tighthead.

 

Academy player and Sligo native Cillian Gallagher, who made his debut against Worcester in October, is named among the replacements. Ahead of the clash, Connacht Head Coach Kieran Keane, spoke about the importance of getting a result against the Italians: “While we were disappointed not to beat Cardiff last week, I was proud of the boys and the way they battled to take 2 points from the game. In this competition it is really important to do well against teams in our conference.”

“We will face a big challenge against Zebre on Saturday. They have made it difficult against a lot of teams so far this season particularly when they are at home. We will need to be at our best to beat them” added Keane.

 

 

#ZEBvCON

Kick-off 1.15pm (Irish Time):

(15-9) Tiernan O’Halloran, Cian Kelleher, Pita Ahki, Tom Farrell, Matt Healy, Steve Crosbie, Kieran Marmion,

(1-8) Denis Buckley, Shane Delahunt, Finlay Bealham, Ultan Dillane, James Cannon, Eoghan Masterson, James Connolly, John Muldoon (Capt)

Replacements (16-23): Dave Heffernan, Peter McCabe, Conor Carey, Cillian Gallagher, Naulia Dawai, James Mitchell, Jack Carty, Eoin Griffin.

 

 

Our medical team have issued the following squad update ahead of the big European clash against Worcester Warriors at the Sportsground on Saturday (3pm). Save 15% on gate prices by buying tickets here.

Lock:

Andrew Browne is rehabilitating from an achilles tendon injury and is due to return in early November.

Back Row:

Jake Heenan injured his knee in the game versus Scarlets and will be out of action until December

Sean O’Brien is recovering following shoulder surgery and will be out of action until early 2018.

Out-half:

Steve Crosbie sustained an ankle injury in the game versus Ulster and will be out of action for a number of weeks.

Centre:

Peter Robb is rehabilitating from recent hip surgery and will be out of action until December.

Back Three:

Niyi Adeolokun played 40 minutes for the Eagles team on Saturday with no ill effects.

Tiernan O’Halloran will integrate into training this week following his hip injury against Ulster.

With preparations well underway for Saturday night’s European Challenge Cup opener away to Top14 side Oyonnax, our medical team have issued the following squad update.

Lock:

Andrew Browne is rehabilitating from an Achilles tendon injury and is due to return in early November.

Back Row:

Naulia Dawai trained fully with the squad last week following his hamstring injury.

Jake Heenan injured his knee in the game versus Scarlets and will be out of action until December.

Sean O’Brien is recovering following shoulder surgery and will be out of action until early 2018.

Scrum-half:

James Mitchell will train fully with the squad this week following his shoulder injury.

Out-half:

Steve Crosbie sustained an ankle injury in the game versus Ulster and is awaiting the results of a scan to determine the extent of the injury.

Centre:

Peter Robb is rehabilitating from recent hip surgery and will be out of action until December.

Back Three:

Niyi Adeolokun is continuing his integration into squad training this week and is due to be available for selection next week.

Tiernan O’Halloran sustained a hip injury in the game versus Ulster and will be monitored by the medical and performance staff this week.

————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————

On the road this Saturday night (see fixture details here), we return to the Sportsground the following weekend for a triple-header against Worcester Warriors, Munster & Cheetahs – buy tickets here.

Delighted to get the job done, getting the five points was very important”

Out-half Steve Crosbie reflects on last night’s BP win over Southern Kings and looks ahead to Friday night’s visit to Newport Gwent Dragons.

We are back at home on Saturday week as the Cardiff Blues visit the Sportsground. Buy tickets online here and save 15%. 

 

Connacht Rugby and the IRFU are pleased to announce that JP Cooney, Shane Delahunt, Steve Crosbie and Tom Farrell have all signed new contracts for the 2017/18 season.

With five seasons at the Sportsground under his belt, 27-year-old prop Cooney, who can play on both sides of the scrum, has further extended his stay. The Tipperary man featured in 22 games for the province this season and made his 50th appearance against Munster at Thomond Park earlier this month.

Delahunt made 11 appearances in his debut season as a member of the senior squad and started in the highly competitive number two jersey on four occasions. The 24-year-old, who graduated from the Connacht Academy last summer, now has 27 caps to his name. A former Kilkenny College captain, Delahunt represented Ireland at under-20 level in 2014.

24-year-old outhalf Crosbie, who can also play in midfield, joined Connacht in January of this year, following a short stint with Munster. The former Ireland U20’s player has featured in three PRO12 games for Connacht this year and kicked 17 points (six from six) in April’s 22-19 win away to Edinburgh.

The province has further boosted its options at midfield with the contract extension of 23-year-old Farrell. The former Bedford Blues player also joined the province in early 2017 and has made nine appearances since his arrival. Farrell has represented Ireland at U19 and U20 level.

Commenting on the latest contract news, Connacht CEO Willie Ruane said:

“Our squad is taking shape for next season and we’re delighted with the level of retention in the senior ranks. To have continuity up front in the shape of JP and Shane is a great boost and we are excited by what Steve and Tom can add to the squad having only joined us earlier in the year.

“Recruitment remains ongoing as we look to finalise the makeup of our squad for next season.”

Connacht Rugby can also confirm that senior players Conor Carey, Dominic Robertson-McCoy and Stacey Ili have had the second year on their current contracts activated and will remain at the Sportsground for the 2017/18 season.

Ahead of Saturday’s Guinness PRO12 game at home to Scarlets, the Connacht Rugby medical team have provided the following update.

Conor Carey will integrate into training with the squad this week following his foot injury sustained in December.

Quinn Roux has completed his GRTP protocols following the head injury he sustained v Leinster.

Eoin McKeon has completed his GRTP protocols following the head injury he sustained v Leinster.

Steve Crosbie sustained an AC joint injury in the game v Leinster and will be monitored this week.

Niyi Adeolokun sustained a hamstring injury in the game v Leinster and will be out of action for 4-5 weeks.

Matt Healy has recovered from his recent hand injury and will return to partial training this week.

Cian Kelleher will integrate into training with the squad this week following his hamstring injury sustained in December.

CONNACHT v SCARLETS
Saturday 29th April
At the Sportsground, 7.35pm.
Live on TG4 / S4C

Get your tickets for Connacht v Scarlets here.

Referee:  Mike Adamson (SRU, 7th competition game)
Assistant Referees: Lloyd Linton (SRU), Helen O’Reilly (IRFU)
Citing Commissioner:  Murray Whyte (IRFU)
TMO: Charles Samson (SRU)

 

Connacht marked their first visit to Myreside with a 22-19 victory over Edinburgh with Pat Lam’s men withstanding a late comeback to secure their fifth PRO12 victory from the last seven games.

Eoin McKeon scored the only Connacht try with Steve Crosbie, on his second start for the province, kicking six from six in a very composed display from out-half.

Connacht led 22-0 with 63 minutes on the clock but a penalty try, with Tiernan O’Halloran sin-binned as a result, and a score under the posts from Hamish Watson made it 22-14 by the 68th minute.

That ensured an uncomfortable finish for Connacht and a Glenn Bryce try in the left corner on 74 minutes had the nerves jangling but O’Halloran soon returned and the visitors held on.

A clinical first-half display ended with Connacht 17-0 in front as Crosbie kicked his first long-range penalty on nine minutes after Connacht’s first foray into opposition territory.

Edinburgh were enjoying the lion’s share of possession and territory but Connacht were defending well and were soon six points to the good after another excellent long-range kick by Crosbie on 27 minutes.

McKeon struck for Connacht’s first try on the half hour with Kieran Marmion timing his pass perfectly to pop McKeon through a gap with the flanker picking a great line and scoring under the posts.

Clinical Connacht struck again before the break as Crosbie slotted another tricky penalty with ease to make it 17-0 at the interval.

Edinburgh had their chances in that first half but Duncan Weir was off target with both of his penalties.

As in the first half, Connacht defended well to repel the early Edinburgh attacks before capitalising at the other end through the boot of Crosbie for a 19-0 lead on 50 minutes.

Tom McCartney soon departed with a leg injury and The Fields of Athenry was soon heard around Myreside with the travelling support in full voice.

John Muldoon was pointing to the posts again on the hour after an Edinburgh high tackle and Crosbie obliged with a simple three-pointer for a 22-0 lead and Connacht looked home and hosed.

Edinburgh were not going to go down without a fight however and when O’Halloran, on his 100th PRO12 appearance, was deemed to have halted an attack with an intentional offside, referee Dan Jones awarded a penalty try and sin-binned O’Halloran.

Weir kicked the 64th minute conversion and when Hamish Watson slipped through a tackle and touched down under the posts four minutes later, the comeback was well and truly on.

Edinburgh, sensing their opportunity, kept swarming forward and were within three points of overturning the one-time 22-point deficit when Glenn Bryce dived over in the left corner on 74 minutes.

O’Halloran returned after Weir’s missed conversion and Connacht weathered the storm to see out the final minutes for the victory.

Book your Early Bird Season Tickets for the 2017/18 season here.

Connacht: Tiernan O’Halloran; Niyi Adeolokun (Josh Rowland, 72), Eoin Griffin, Bundee Aki, Danie Poolman; Steve Crosbie (Jack Carty, 62), Kieran Marmion (Caolin Blade, 61); Denis Buckley (JP Cooney, 67), Tom McCartney (Shane Delahunt, 51), Dominic Robertson-McCoy (Finlay Bealham, 45); Quinn Roux (James Cannon, 63), Andrew Browne; Eoin McKeon, Jake Heenan, John Muldoon (C) (Naulia Dawai, 63).

Connacht Rugby has today confirmed that outhalf Steve Crosbie and centre Tom Farrell have been added to the senior squad for the remainder of the 2016/17 season. Loosehead prop Peter McCabe has also joined the province on a loan deal from Munster Rugby.

23-year-old outhalf Steve Crosbie, who can also play in midfield, joins the province on the back of a short term contract with Munster where he made two appearances for their ‘A’ side in the British & Irish Cup last month. The former Ireland under-20’s player originally came through the Leinster academy system and made two Guinness PRO12 appearances at the beginning of the 2014/15 season.

The Connacht coaching team have also boosted their options at midfield with the addition of 23-year-old Tom Farrell who joins from English Championship side Bedford Blues where he made 12 appearances this season. Having played with Lansdowne RFC, Farrell came through the Leinster Academy and also represented Ireland at under-19 and under-20 level. He joined up with his new team mates at the Sportsground on Monday and was today added to the European Rugby Champions Cup squad for the province.

24-year-old McCabe has also joined the province on loan from Munster Rugby and as cover for current front row injuries. The Cork-born prop impressed on a number of occasions for Munster ‘A’ after making his B&I Cup debut in the 2015 quarter-final against Doncaster Knights. He made his senior debut in the Guinness PRO12 this season, coming on as a replacement against the Ospreys and a week later starting in the friendly against the Maori All Blacks at Thomond Park.

 

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