Caolin Blade will lead out Connacht as captain for tonight’s pre-season friendly against Oyonnax Rugby at the Stade Charles-Mathon (k/o 7.30pm Irish time).
 
The scrum-half starts the challenge game alongside half-back partner David Horwitz, with Peter Robb and Kyle Godwin paired together at centre. All-time Connacht try scorer Matt Healy is named on the wing with Niyi Adeolokun and Darragh Leader completing the back three.
 
In the pack there’s a start for Connacht Academy player Seán Masterson who is selected at blindside flanker, with Paul Boyle and Robin Copeland also in the back row. Irish international Ultan Dillane partners Joe Maksymiw in the second row, with Matthew Burke, Tom McCartney and Dominic Robertson-McCoy completing the side.
 
A squad of 30 travelled to France on Wednesday with every player expected to see game-time as preparations for the start of the season crank up a gear.
 
Connacht Rugby will have live updates of the game on our Twitter account @ConnachtRugby.
 
CONNACHT RUGBY TEAM VS OYONNAX RUGBY
(15-9): Darragh Leader, Niyi Adeolokun, Kyle Godwin, Peter Robb, Matt Healy, David Horwitz, Caolin Blade (c).

(1-8): Matthew Burke, Tom McCartney, Dominic Robertson-McCoy, Ultan Dillane, Joe Maksymiw, Seán Masterson, Paul Boyle, Robin Copeland.

(Replacements): Denis Buckley, Dave Heffernan, Finlay Bealham, Rory Burke, Cillian Gallagher, Gavin Thornbury, Eoghan Masterson, Colby Fainga’a, Jarrad Butler, Angus Lloyd, Conor Fitzgerald, Tom Daly, Seán O’Brien, John Porch, Tiernan O’Halloran.

A squad of 30 players arrived in France yesterday afternoon ahead of Friday’s pre-season friendly against Oyonnax Rugby at the Stade Charles-Mathon (k/o 7.30pm Irish time / 8.30pm local time).
 
The game is Connacht’s first of the 2019/20 campaign as they step up preparations for the start of the Guinness PRO14 against Scarlets on September 28th, with a further friendly against Munster at The Sportsground the previous week.
 
New signings John Porch and Rory Burke are included in the travelling party, as are academy players Seán O’Brien and Seán Masterson.
 
Speaking after the squad’s arrival, Head Coach Andy Friend said:
 
“This game is our first opportunity to put into action what we’ve been working on since the start of pre-season training at the beginning of July. I’ve been very impressed with the squad in that time and I’m excited to see what the players can offer”.
 
“We have brought over a squad of 30 players and it is our intention to give every player a run-out and an opportunity to impress. Oyonnax are a good side so this is the ideal game for us as we get closer to the new season”.

 
Connacht Rugby Squad vs Oyonnax Rugby
 
Forwards (17): Finlay Bealham, Paul Boyle, Denis Buckley, Matthew Burke, Rory Burke, Jarrad Butler, Robin Copeland, Colby Fainga’a, Cillian Gallagher, Dave Heffernan, Tom McCartney, Ultan Dillane, Joe Maksymiw, Eoghan Masterson, Sean Masterson (acad), Dominic Robertson-McCoy, Gavin Thornbury.

Backs (13): Niyi Adeolokun, Caolin Blade, Tom Daly, Conor Fitzgerald, Kyle Godwin, Matt Healy, David Horwitz, Darragh Leader, Angus Lloyd, Seán O’Brien (acad), Tiernan O’Halloran, John Porch, Peter Robb.

The Connacht Eagles suffered a 14 – 41 defeat at the hands of a strong London Irish outfit at Dubarry Park today.

Centre Ciaran Gaffney, who made his senior debut in the Guinness PRO12 last month, opened the scoring for the home side just before the break with sub academy outhalf Luke Carty kicking the conversion.

The outhalf wasn’t up to the tee again until the 77th minute when Sean Masterson, younger brother of senior player Eoghan, crossed for the last score of the game.

London Irish, unbeaten this season, now progress to the quarter final of the B&I Cup while the Eagles must travel to Cornwall next weekend in search of their first win in the campaign.

Connacht Eagles: 15 Josh Rowland, 14 Matthew Byrne, 13 Ciaran Gaffney, 12 Kieran Joyce, 11 Adam Leavy, 10 Luke Carty, 9 Conor McKeon, 1 Jack Dinneen, 2 Shane O’Hehir, 3 Dominic Robertson-McCoy, 4 Cillian Gallagher, 5 Danny Qualter, 6 Rory Moloney, 7 Josh Pim, 8 Marc Kelly

Replacements: 16 Conor Kyne, 17 Saba Meunargia, 18 Cian Romaine, 19 Sean Masterson, 20 Stephen Kerins, 21 Morgan Codyre, 22 Joe Murphy

London Irish: 15 Tom Parton, 14 Matt Williams, 13 Ciaran Hearn, 12 Ross Neal (Johnny Williams, 65), 11 Ben Ransom, 10 Theo Brophy Clews (Jacob Atkins, 60), 9 Scott Steele, 1 Harry Elrington, 2 Todd Gleave, 3 Ollie Hoskins, 4 Jerry Sexton (Will Lloyd, 60), 5 Josh McNally, 6 Joe Trayfoot (Luke Narraway, 65), 7 Conor Gilsenan (c), 8 Senitiki Nayalo

Replacements: 16 Ollie Adams, 17 Austin Hay, 18 Will Lloyd, 19 Luke Narraway, 20 Rory Brand, 21 Johnny Williams, 22 Jacob Atkins

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