Jarrad Butler will become the latest Connacht centurion in tomorrow’s BKT United Rugby Championship clash away to the Ospreys (k/o 7.35pm).  

Butler joined Connacht in 2017 and has quickly reached a century of appearances, having spent three seasons as captain. 

Meanwhile lock Darragh Murray and winger Adam Byrne are both in line to make their Connacht debuts, with the pair named among the replacements. 

In the front row there are starts for Dylan Tierney-Martin and Jack Aungier while Denis Buckley is retained. The second row consists of Oisín Dowling and Gavin Thornbury, while number 8 Butler is joined by flankers Shamus Hurley-Langton and Conor Oliver. 

Caolin Blade comes in at scrum-half to partner captain Jack Carty, while there’s a return to the starting team for Tom Farrell beside David Hawkshaw in the centre. The final change sees Alex Wootton come onto the wings, with John Porch and Tiernan O’Halloran both retained. 

Commenting on the team selection, Director of Rugby Andy Friend says: 

“Jarrad reaching 100 caps is a brilliant achievement. He’s a genuine leader within the group both on and off the field, and it’s a testament to him that he has hit a century of appearances in just six seasons with us. 

We are continuing to keep the matchday squad fresh with a few o changes, whilst still selecting a 23 that is more than capable of picking up a win, albeit against difficult opposition in the Ospreys.  

I feel like all of the hard work that has been done from pre-season to date is starting to be seen through our on field performances. We’re all keen to keep that momentum going and finish this block on a high.”  


Saturday 29th October 2022, 19:35 @ Swansea.com Stadium 


15. Tiernan O’Halloran (208)
14. Alex Wootton (36)
13. Tom Farrell (82)
12. David Hawkshaw (6)
11. John Porch (65)
10. Jack Carty (183) (C)
9. Caolin Blade (153)
1. Denis Buckley (214)
2. Dylan Tierney-Martin (9)
3. Jack Aungier (37)
4. Oisín Dowling (30)
5. Gavin Thornbury (67)
6. Shamus Hurley-Langton (5)
7. Conor Oliver (46)
8. Jarrad Butler (99)

16.Grant Stewart (3)
17. Jordan Duggan (29)
18.Sam Illo (3)
19. Darragh Murray *
20. Paul Boyle (78)
21. Kieran Marmion (214)
22. Tom Daly (65)
23. Adam Byrne *

Head coach Greg McWilliams has named the Ireland Women’s squad, sponsored by Aon, for the upcoming two-Test series against Japan.

Back-to-back matches against the Sakura 15s in August form part of a summer programme for McWilliams’ young side, and the exciting development opportunities ahead are highlighted by the inclusion of eight uncapped players in the touring party for Japan.

Forwards Clara Nielson, Jo Brown and Taryn Schulzter are named in the national squad for the first time having impressed during a series of recent camps at the IRFU High Performance Centre.

Backs Aoife Dalton, Dannah O’Brien, Emma Tilly, Kayla Waldron and Leah Tarpey also receive their first call-ups.

Dalton, O’Brien, Tilly and Tarpey are all part of the IRFU’s Women’s National Talent Squad, which was launched earlier this year.

Ireland will be captained once again by Nichola Fryday, as they open the series against Japan at Ecopa Stadium in Fukuroi City, Shizuoka on Saturday, August 20, before a second Test against Lesley McKenzie’s team a week later, on Saturday, August 27, at Chichibunomiya Rugby Stadium in Tokyo.

The two teams most recently faced each other during the 2021 November internationals at the RDS, with Ireland earning a 15-12 win on that occasion.

Japan, currently ranked 12th in the world, are coming off the back of a historic Test victory over Australia and are currently preparing for the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand in October.

The summer programme will provide McWilliams and his coaching staff with another valuable window to develop squad depth, build cohesion, and expose a number of young players to the international arena, with Japan set to provide a stern test.

McWilliams has included 13 players – including Kate Flannery who starred for Ireland during the recent Under-18 Women’s Six Nations Festival – on the stand-by list for Japan.

Aoife McDermott, Ella Roberts, Hannah Duffy, Jessica Keating, Jorja Battishill, Flannery, Leah Lyons, Meabh Deely, Muirne Wall, Shannon Touhey and Vicky Irwin have all been part of the national team summer programme and remain available for selection.

Unfortunately eight players – Alice O’Dowd, Aoibheann Reilly, Aoife Wafer, Eimear Considine, Ellen Murphy, Kathryn Dane, Nikki Caughey and Niamh Byrne – were unavailable for selection.

Commenting on the squad, McWilliams said: “We’re excited to finalise the touring squad for Japan having trained together as an extended group of 50 players since May.

“There is a strong mix of youth and experience in the panel and this is a great opportunity for the uncapped and young players, some of whom have come up through the pathway and the National Talent Squad programme.

“That in itself is really positive to see these players develop through the system and now get their opportunity in the senior team as we build ahead of next season.

This summer programme was designed to expose us to new environments and challenges and it has been brilliant to work with the group for an extended period leading up to our departure for Japan.

“We look forward to two tough Test matches and the positive experience touring will bring for the players and staff.”

In addition, former Fiji Men’s head coach John McKee has been added to the Ireland coaching team for the summer programme and will travel to Japan.

Kick-off times and broadcast details for the two Tests against Japan will be confirmed in due course.

Ireland Women’s Squad, Japan Tour:


Chloe Pearse (UL Bohemians RFC/Munster)
Christy Haney (Blackrock College RFC/Leinster)
Clara Nielson* (Exeter Chiefs/IQ Rugby)
Dorothy Wall (Blackrock College RFC/Munster)
Edel McMahon (Wasps/IQ Rugby)
Emma Hooban (Blackrock College RFC/Leinster)
Grace Moore (Saracens/IQ Rugby)
Hannah O’Connor (Blackrock College RFC/Leinster)
Jo Brown* (Worcester/IQ Rugby)
Katie O’Dwyer (Railway Union RFC/Leinster)
Laura Feely (Blackrock College RFC/Connacht)
Linda Djougang (ASM Romagnat Rugby/Leinster)
Maeve Óg O’Leary (Blackrock College RFC/Munster)
Neve Jones (Gloucester-Hartpury/Ulster)
Nichola Fryday (Exeter Chiefs/Connacht)(Captain)
Sam Monaghan (TBC)
Taryn Schulzter* (Saracens/Ulster)


Ailsa Hughes (Railway Union RFC/Leinster)
Aoife Dalton* (Tullamore/Leinster)
Dannah O’Brien* (Tullow RFC/Leinster)
Emma Tilly* (MU Barnhall RFC/Leinster)
Enya Breen (TBC/Munster)
Kayla Waldron* (Hamilton Hawks/IQ Rugby)
Lauren Delany (Sale Sharks RFC/IQ Rugby)
Leah Tarpey* (Tullamore RFC/Leinster)
Molly Scuffil-McCabe (Railway Union RFC/Leinster)
Natasja Behan (Blackrock College RFC/Leinster)
Nicole Cronin (UL Bohemians RFC/Munster).

Ireland Women’s Japan Tour Fixtures:

  • Japan v Ireland, Saturday, August 20, Ecopa Stadium
  • Japan v Ireland, Saturday, August 27, Chichibunomiya Rugby Stadium

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 wasps.co.uk/tickets .

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.


Six changes for trip to Newcastle in Challenge Cup

Connacht squad to face Emirates Lions named

Connacht squad to face Emirates Lions named

6 days ago
Dylan Tierney-Martin Preview to Lions

Dylan Tierney-Martin Preview to Lions

6 days ago
Andy Friend preview to Lions

Andy Friend preview to Lions

7 days ago