Connacht Head Coach Kieran Keane has announced his starting team to face Ulster in the Sportsground on Saturday (K.O. 7:35pm – Live TG4). The clash with Ulster is the first in the series of Christmas interpros with clashes away to Leinster (Jan 1st) and Munster (Jan 6th) to come.

 

Tiernan O’Halloran is back in the side at full back and is joined by Niyi Adeolokun and Matt Healy, who scored four tries in Connacht’s win over Brive last weekend. Jack Carty and Kieran Marmion form the half back pairing after Marmion was rested in the win against Brive.

 

In the pack Denis Coulson comes in at loose head in place of the injured Denis Buckley. He is joined in the front row by hooker Shane Delahunt and Finlay Bealham at tight head. In the back-row flanker Jarrad Butler returns from an injury he picked up in the victory at home to Munster in October.

 

Connacht have installed additional terracing in the Sportsground to accommodate the ticket demand for the Christmas fixture and Head coach Kieran Keane says he expects the home crowd will be have a bearing on the game. “The crowd have been massive for us so far this season and the place will be in festive spirit on Saturday. That has a huge impact on players. That can create an 8 or 10 point turn around. Just look how the players responded last week and the night we played Munster. We want to recreate that atmosphere and that performance again on Saturday”

#CONvULS

Kick-off 7:35pm:

(15-9) Tiernan O’Halloran, Niyi Adeleokun, Bundee Aki, Tom Farrell, Matt Healy, Jack Carty, Kieran Marmion, (1-8) Denis Coulson, Shane Delahunt, Finlay Bealham, Ultan Dillane, Quinn Roux, Eoghan Masterson, Jarrad Butler, John Muldoon (Capt)

Replacements (16-23): Tom McCartney, Peter McCabe, Conor Carey, James Cannon, Naulia Dawai, James Mitchell, Eoin Griffin, Darragh Leader.

 

 

 

Connacht Head Coach Kieran Keane has made three changes to his starting XV to face Brive in the European Challenge Cup, in the Sportsground on Saturday (K.O. 3pm). Connacht secured a bonus point win last weekend with a 38 – 31 win away to the French Top14 side.

Darragh Leader comes into the side at full back, James Connolly is in at openside and James Mitchell makes his first start for the province at scrum half. Connacht sit on top of Pool 5 after three rounds and a win at home to Brive would put them in an excellent position to qualify for a home Quarter Final.

Sligo native and Academy player Cillian Gallagher is retained in the starting line up at blindside after making his first start last weekend. For the second time this season, Eoghan Masterson is set to the captain the side from number 8.

There is a huge amount of experience on the bench with Tom McCartney, John Muldoon, Kieran Marmion and Tiernan O’Halloran named among the replacements.

In Brive last weekend the home side got off to the best possible, scoring three tries and leading by 16 points after 28 minutes but by half time Connacht were back in the game with tries from Ultan Dillane and Kieran Marmion. In advance of the return leg, Connacht Backs Coach Nigel Carolan says that Connacht need to be more consistent over the 80 minutes. “We are hoping to use the win over Brive last weekend to kick us off to another good run of form. We have some big games coming up and maintaining a level of consistency is what we are aiming to achieve. We can’t afford to be complacent though. We haven’t played at home in a few weeks, so the lads are looking forward to being back out in front of a festive home crowd and producing the performance that can achieve a good result.

 

#BRIvCON

Kick-off 3pm:

(15-9) Darragh Leader, Cian Kelleher, Pita Ahki, Bundee Aki, Matt Healy, Jack Carty, James Mitchell,
(1-8) Denis Buckley, Shane Delahunt, Finlay Bealham, Ultan Dillane, Quinn Roux, Cillian Gallagher, James Connolly, Eoghan Masterson (Capt)

Replacements (16-23): Tom McCartney, Peter McCabe, Conor Carey, James Cannon, John Muldoon, Kieran Marmion, Tom Farrell, Tiernan O’Halloran.

 

 

 

 

Connacht Head Coach Kieran Keane has named his starting XV to face conference rivals Cardiff Blues in the Guinness PRO14 on Friday (K.O. 7:35pm Live on BBC 2 Wales). Connacht go into the fixture without Irish internationals Bundee Aki, Kieran Marmion and Ultan Dillane while Jarrad Butler and Craig Ronaldson remain on the injury list.

 

Niyi Adeoloukun who scored a decisive try in his first start of the season against the Cheetahs starts again on the wing. Matt Healy on the opposite wing and full-back Tiernan O’Halloran make up the rest of the back three. Eoin Griffin and Tom Farrell make up the centre pairing and while there is no starting position for new signing Pita Ahki, he is named among the replacements.

 

Jack Carty and Caolin Blade form the half back pairing with Marmion unavailable due to his involvement with the Irish squad. In the pack Dave Heffernan starts at hooker with Denis Buckley and Finlay Bealham in at loose head and tighthead respectively. The experienced back row includes flankers Eoin McKeon and Jake Heenan with Captain John Muldoon in at number 8.

 

With four wins a row in all competitions, Out-half Jack Carty says Connacht need to maintain consistency in the next few games: “Over the last few games we have managed to get the results we have needed. Our focus now is on consistency away to Cardiff and next week against Zebre, that’s what we need to deliver. We need to put in the performances now to put ourselves in a strong position later in the season. We were beaten by Cardiff earlier in the season, but we will not be focusing on that. We will be concentrating on ourselves and our own game.”

#CARvCON

Kick-off 7.35pm:

(15-9) Tiernan O’Halloran, Niyi Adeolokun, Eoin Griffin, Tom Farrell, Matt Healy, Jack Carty, Caolin Blade,

(1-8) Denis Buckley, Dave Heffernan, Finlay Bealham, Quinn Roux, James Cannon, Eoin McKeon, Jake Heenan, John Muldoon (Capt)

Replacements (16-23): Shane Delahunt, Peter McCabe, Conor Carey, Gavin Thornbury, Eoghan Masterson, James Mitchell, Steve Crosbie, Pita Ahki.

 

Winger Niyi Adeolokun makes his first start of the season for Connacht as they take on the Toyota Cheetahs in the Sportsground on Saturday (K.O. 7.35pm). Adeolokun, who turned 27 today, joins Tiernan O’Halloran and Darragh Leader in the back three, both of whom started in the win against Munster last weekend.

 

With three players away on international duty, Caolin Blade starts at scrum half, Craig Ronaldson at inside centre and Quinn Roux in the second row as Connacht look to make it four wins in a row in all competitions.

 

In the back row Eoghan Masterson comes back in at blindside, Eoin McKeon starts at openside and Captain John Muldoon wears the number 8 jersey.

 

Naulia Dawai also returning from injury is back in the match day 23 as he takes his place among the replacements. Ronaldson forms a centre partnership with Tom Farrell who scored the decisive try against Munster.

 

Speaking ahead of the game Farrell spoke of the need to get a result against Cheetahs before going into the two week break as the Autumn international will take centre stage. “We have been steadily improving since the start of the season and we put together back to back wins in Europe and followed that up with a win against Munster last weekend. The atmosphere was fantastic in the Sportsground and the lift that the fans gave us made all the difference. But we will need to repeat that performance if we are to beat the Cheetahs on Saturday and go into the break with four wins in a row”.

 

Tickets are still available for the game here. Best prices online.

 

#CONvCHE

Kick-off 7.35pm:

(15-9) Tiernan O’Halloran, Darragh Leader, Tom Farrell, Craig Ronaldson, Niyi Adeolokun, Jack Carty, Caolin Blade,

(1-8) Denis Buckley, Tom McCartney, Finlay Bealham; Quinn Roux, James Cannon; Eoghan Masterson, Eoin McKeon, John Muldoon (Capt).

Replacements (16-23): Dave Heffernan, Denis Coulson, Conor Carey, Gavin Thornbury, Naulia Dawai, Conor McKeon, Steve Crosbie, Matt Healy.

 

 

Head Coach Kieran Keane has announced the Connacht team to face French Top 14 side Oyonnax at the Stade de Geneve in Switzerland on Saturday (7pm Irish time, 8pm local).

Out-half Andrew Deegan and loosehead prop Denis Coulson both start and make their European debuts for the province.

Darragh Leader is named at full-back with Cian Kelleher and Matt Healy lining up on the wings. Eoin Griffin and Tom Farrell form a new centre pairing with Bundee Aki rested having played the full 80 in all six of Connacht’s games so far this season.

Deegan forms a half back pairing with Caolin Blade, who makes his third start of the season. In the front row Coulson is joined by hooker Tom McCartney and Finlay Bealham at tight head.

Locks Ultan Dillane and James Cannon are in the engine room with Eoghan Masterson, Eoin McKeon and captain John Muldoon in the back row.

Speaking ahead of the game, Kieran Keane said: “Oyonnax are in a similar situation to us and both teams are looking to build some momentum.

“This competition is a new thing for me and quite a few of the boys, the fact that we’re playing in Geneva is a really interesting situation for us so there are a lot of new aspects to it.”

#USOvCON

Kick-off 7.00pm Irish Time (Non-Televised)

(15-9) Darragh Leader, Cian Kelleher, Eoin Griffin, Tom Farrell, Matt Healy, Andrew Deegan, Caolin Blade, (1-8) Denis Coulson, Tom McCartney, Finlay Bealham, Ultan Dillane, James Cannon, Eoghan Masterson, Eoin McKeon, John Muldoon (Capt).

Replacements (16-23): Shane Delahunt, Peter McCabe, Conor Carey, Quinn Roux, James Connolly, Kieran Marmion, Craig Ronaldson, Rory Scholes.

Kieran Marmion is set to make his 100th Championship appearance for Connacht in tomorrow night’s first Interprovincial clash of the season away to Ulster in the PRO14 (7.35pm, live on TG4 and BBC NI).

Head Coach Kieran Keane includes captain John Muldoon and Ireland scrum-half Marmion in the starting XV along with Matt Healy as the winger has recovered from a groin injury.

Tiernan O’Halloran moves to full-back having scored two tries against Scarlets last time out with Cian Kelleher, also a try-scorer last week, on the right wing.

Tom Farrell and Bundee Aki form the centre partnership. Aki has played every single minute for Connacht so far this season and Farrell’s four offloads last week were more than any other PRO14 player in round five.

Marmion, who has made more passes than any other player so far this season (405), teams up with Jack Carty in the half-backs with the out-half the PRO14’s fifth top scorer on 39 points.

Hooker Tom McCartney is flanked by Denis Buckley and Finlay Bealham in the front row as the second row partnership of Ultan Dillane and Quinn Roux remains intact.

Eoin McKeon, Jarrad Butler and Muldoon form the Connacht back-row.

#ULSvCON

Kick-off 7.35pm:

(15-9) Tiernan O’Halloran, Cian Kelleher, Bundee Aki, Tom Farell, Matt Healy, Jack Carty, Kieran Marmion, (1-8) Denis Buckley, Tom McCartney, Finlay Bealham, Ultan Dillane, Quinn Roux, Eoin McKeon, Jarrad Butler, John Muldoon (Capt)

Replacements (16-23): Dave Heffernan, Denis Coulson, Conor Carey, James Cannon, Eoghan Masterson, Caolin Blade, Steve Crosbie, Eoin Griffin.

Tom McCartney is set to captain Connacht as they travel to Wales to take on champions Scarlets in the PRO14 tomorrow night (7.35pm, live on BBC Wales).

Hooker McCartney takes his place in the front row alongside Denis Buckley and Conor Carey. In the back-row Jake Heenan and Eoin McKeon come into the side, for their second and first starts of the season respectively.

The side is also boosted by the return of Tiernan O’Halloran from injury and he takes his place on the wing with Darragh Leader being retained at full-back. After coming off the bench against Cardiff last week, Tom Farrell forms the centre pairing with Bundee Aki. Caolin Blade gets his second start of the season as he forms a half back partnership with Jack Carty.

Connacht face a huge challenge against last year’s PRO12 champions, a fact that Connacht Head Coach Kieran Keane was fully aware of when he spoke to journalists ahead of the game: “They are very expansive, very well skilled and a well drilled team. We are going over to beat them obviously. We have put in place a plan that we think could trouble them, but they are a quality side and you don’t become champions for nothing.

“Decision-making has really been a focal point for us. We have hard workers, we have good players, and we have structures they are coming to grips with that will create opportunities, which we haven’t been able to exploit yet. So, putting a little bit of polish on the rough diamond is what we are looking to achieve.”

#SCAvCON

Kick-off 7.35pm:

(15-9) Darragh Leader, Tiernan O’Halloran, Bundee Aki, Tom Farrell, Cian Kelleher, Jack Carty, Caolin Blade, (1-8) Denis Buckley, Tom McCartney (Capt), Conor Carey, Ultan Dillane, Quinn Roux, Jake Heenan, Jarrad Butler, Eoin McKeon

Replacements (16-23): Shane Delahunt, Denis Coulson, Finlay Bealham, Gavin Thornbury, Eoghan Masterson, Kieran Marmion, Steve Crosbie, Eoin Griffin.

Head Coach Kieran Keane has made seven changes to the Connacht side that secured a bonus-point win against the Southern Kings last week as the team travel to Rodney Parade to take on the Dragons tomorrow night (7.30pm).

Rory Scholes, Caolin Blade, Denis Coulson, Conor Carey, Quinn Roux and Jake Heenan all come into the side for their first starts of the season as Eoghan Masterson comes back in for his second start.

Scholes is set to make his competitive debut for the province on the wing in place of Matt Healy.

Blade is included in the side at scrum-half in place of Irish international Kieran Marmion, who is named among the replacements.

The other five changes are in the pack with two alterations in the front row. Coulson makes his first start for Connacht at loosehead prop after coming off the bench to make his debut in the win over the Kings with Carey starting at tighthead prop.

Ireland international Roux and Heenan also come into the side for their first starts of the season with Roux in the second row and Heenan in the back row.

Masterson, a try-scorer off the bench last week, replaces the injured Sean O’Brien.

With six points from two home games, Connacht are on the road for the first time this season in Wales and Assistant Coach Nigel Carolan is not underestimating the challenge posed by Bernard Jackman’s Dragons side.

Speaking to reporters earlier this week, Carolan said: “Bernard Jackman is trying to rebuild the Dragons and create a strong identity, much like he did in Grenoble. They will be a tight-knit group and very difficult to play against. They have some real firepower with Ashton Hewitt, Zane Kirchner, and the boot of Gavin Henson. It is going to be a very difficult game for us and we have to make sure we build on last week and are more effective than we were against the Kings.”

#DRAvCON

Please note this game is not televised but follow @ConnachtRugby on Twitter for live updates from Rodney Parade.

Kick-off 7.30pm:

(15-9) Tiernan O’Halloran, Darragh Leader, Tom Farrell, Bundee Aki, Rory Scholes, Jack Carty, Caolin Blade, (1-8) Denis Coulson, Tom McCartney, Conor Carey, Quinn Roux, James Cannon, Eoghan Masterson, Jake Heenan, John Muldoon.

Replacements (16-23): Dave Heffernan, Peter McCabe, Dominic Robertson-McCoy, Gavin Thornbury, Jarrad Butler, Kieran Marmion, Steve Crosbie, Eoin Griffin.

Ireland internationals Niyi Adeolokun, Ultan Dillane and Matt Healy have all returned from injury to feature in Connacht’s match day squad for the Champions Cup play-off semi-final clash with Northampton Saints tomorrow (4pm).

Head coach Pat Lam has made seven personnel changes for the knockout game in Franklin’s Gardens.

Adeolokun starts on the right wing while Danie Poolman moves in to partner Craig Ronaldson for a rare start in the centres.

Dave Heffernan and Finlay Bealham are both promoted to the front row in a week that also saw them named in Joe Schmidt’s Ireland squad for the Summer Tour.

Sean O’Brien and Jake Heenan start in the back row with captain John Muldoon at number 8.

Ruled out through injury since February, Dillane and Healy are both in line to make an appearance from the bench tomorrow.

Commenting on tomorrow’s game, head coach Pat Lam said:

“Everything over the past few weeks has been geared towards this game. We know we haven’t been anywhere near our best in the last few matches and that’s been a big disappointment for us as a team. We’ve had a very positive week on and off the training pitch but we all know that the eighty plus minutes from 4pm tomorrow is when it needs to count.”

 

Connacht team to face Northampton Saints

Saturday, May 20th, kick off 4pm, Franklin’s Gardens

15        Tiernan O’Halloran

14        Niyi Adeolokun

13        Danie Poolman

12        Craig Ronaldson

11        Cian Kelleher

10        Jack Carty

9          Kieran Marmion

1          Denis Buckley

2          Dave Heffernan

3           Finlay Bealham

4          Quinn Roux

5          Andrew Browne

6           Sean O’Brien

7          Jake Heenan

8          John Muldoon (captain)

 

Replacements:

16        Shane Delahunt

17        JP Cooney

18        Conor Carey

19        Ultan Dillane

20        Naulia Dawai

21        Caolin Blade

22        John Cooney

23        Matt Healy

Injured/unavailable:  Tom McCartney, Ronan Loughney, Nepia Fox-Matamua, Shane O’Leary, Bundee Aki, Peter Robb, Stacey Ili, Tom Farrell, Eoin Griffin, Josh Rowland.

 

Northampton Saints v Connacht Rugby
Saturday May 20th
Franklin’s Gardens
Kick off 4pm

 

Referee: Mathieu Raynal (France)

Live on TG4

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