Connacht get ready for their final game of the season this Saturday as they take on Zebre in the URC at The Sportsground, kick-off is 5pm


With the curtain closing on the 2021/22 season this weekend, it’s a chance for Andy Friend to potentially look at younger players and give them game time in front of home supporters. One of those players hoping to get a chance is Dylan Tierney-Martin who has had his injury issues this season along with battling for the number two jersey.


The 22-year old spoke about how he’s developed as a player this season with the Connacht senior squad.


“I’ve got some great hookers ahead of me since joining the senior side and I’ve enjoyed my journey with this being my first season as a pro”


“I’ve learned a lot from Shane Delahunt, Dave Heffernan and Jonny Murphy who have kept themselves right and performed very well”


“I found it tough to break that barrier and get some opportunities because of how well the boys were doing but near the end of the season I have had chances to show what I can do”


The step up from the academy or underage setup to the professional senior squad can take a bit of adjusting and Dylan explains what he’s found to be the biggest difference.


“The biggest jump I found was the consistency and detail of preparation”


“I think once you get to that level in terms of being a pro player it does come down to the level of preparation and doing things over and over again and not get bored of it”


“The coaches have been great and Andy (Friend) has been very good to me in terms of building my character and as a person as well so not just the player and I do feel I’ve matured a lot this year”


Recent rumours around the URC have been the potential inclusion of an U23 grade. Dylan was asked if this new U23 grade could benefit younger players more compared to the AIL.


“It’s a tough question because I know there’s merit in both”


“I know the AIL traditionally has been the path way for younger players the whole way through but there is merit in that U23 league so it could be beneficial for a lot of players”


“If the URC could work with the AIL to align the two tournaments where they don’t clash, have them in the drop weeks or the Champions Cup week where there is no AIL I think it could be something to look at”

In preparation for the upcoming 2017/18 season, Connacht Rugby have confirmed their pre-season schedule of games. English sides Wasps and Bristol will provide quality opposition in the lead up to the new campaign. 

Wednesday August 23rd         Wasps v Connacht Rugby       Ricoh Arena                19:35
Saturday August 26th              Connacht Rugby v Bristol       the Sportsground       15:00

The squad, under new head coach Kieran Keane will travel to the Ricoh Arena to play last year’s Aviva Premiership finalists on Wednesday August 23rd. The two sides will be familiar with each other having met in the pool stages of last season’s Champions Cup, with both teams winning their home fixture. In round four of the competition, Connacht outhalf Jack Carty snatched a dramatic 20-18 victory with the final kick of the game in front of a sold-out Sportsground.

Following the Wasps fixtures, all eyes will be on the Sportsground on Saturday August 26th when former Connacht head coach Pat Lam brings his Bristol side to Galway for the highly-anticipated final pre-season clash.

Early bird tickets to the Wasps v Connacht game go on sale on Monday June 26th via .

Tickets for Connacht v Bristol will be made available through Connacht Rugby in the coming weeks.

A Connacht Rugby Season Ticket includes access to the Connacht v Bristol pre-season game and remains the best value ticket for savings at the gate. Click here for more information.

EPCR can confirm the dates and kick-off times for the Champions Cup play-offs to determine which club secures the 20th place in the 2017/18 tournament. Connacht will travel to play either Northampton Saints or Gloucester Rugby on Saturday May 20th with the game kicking off at 4pm.

Connacht Rugby’s opposition will be confirmed following the conclusion of tonight’s Challenge Cup final between Gloucester and Stade Francais.

If Gloucester win, we will travel to face them in Kingsholm next Saturday; if they lose, we will be on the road to play Northampton at Franklin’s Gardens.

Friday 19 May

Play-off 2: Stade Français Paris v Cardiff Blues, Stade Jean Bouin (18.00)

Saturday 20 May

Play-off 1: Northampton Saints or Gloucester Rugby v Connacht Rugby, Franklin’s Gardens or Kingsholm (16.00)

Play-off Final – Friday 26 May
Winner Play-off 1 v winner Play-off 2 (19.45)
The winner of Play-off 1 will have home advantage
Sky Sports

The following clubs have already secured their places in next season’s tournament:

Aviva Premiership – Wasps, Exeter Chiefs, Saracens, Leicester Tigers, Bath Rugby, Harlequins

Guinness PRO12 – Munster Rugby, Leinster Rugby, Scarlets, Ospreys, Ulster Rugby, Glasgow Warriors, Benetton Rugby

TOP 14 –
La Rochelle, ASM Clermont Auvergne, Montpellier, RC Toulon, Castres Olympique, Racing 92

  • The remaining 18 clubs from the Aviva Premiership, the Guinness PRO12 and the TOP 14 which have not qualified for the Champions Cup will play in the 2017/18 Challenge Cup. The 19th and 20th places in next season’s Challenge Cup have been secured by Russia’s Enisei-STM and Krasny Yar who will play in tomorrow’s Continental Shield final at the BT Murrayfield complex.
  • The Pool Draws for 2017/18 Champions Cup and Challenge Cup will take place in Neuchâtel, Switzerland on Thursday 8 June.


2022/23 EPCR tournament formats and qualifiers confirmed

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