Following today’s team announcement, the Connacht medical team have released the latest squad update:
 
Caolin Blade (hamstring) and Tiernan O’Halloran (adductor) will integrate into squad training next week.
 
Tom Farrell (knee) will see a specialist following his injury last weekend.
 
Stephen Fitzgerald (knee) had a minor knee procedure this week and will aim to return to training in early January.
 
Oisin Dowling (back) will step up training involvement over the coming weeks.
 
Niall Murray (shoulder), Ben O’Donnell (knee), Conor Dean (thumb), Cillian Gallagher (shoulder) and Peter Robb (groin) remain unavailable.
 
All players and staff returned negative results in this week’s PCR testing.

By John O’Sullivan 

 

Forwards coach Jimmy Duffy says that Connacht will need to be efficient when close to the try line to win away to Zebre in Sunday’s 14:30 Guinness PRO14 kick-off. 

 

In the Westerners’ last outing, a 20-14 defeat at home to The Scarlets, they created ample chances to add to the two tries they scored but couldn’t add the finishing touches to moves, despite crossing the try line on four more occasions.

 

While Duffy is pleased that Connacht were able to create so many opportunities to score, especially in the wild weather that accompanied the clash with the Welshmen at the Sportsground, he said there will need to be greater attacking efficiency on display in Parma. 

 

“It’s something we would put a lot of emphasis on in our club,” the Galway native said when asked whether the rolling maul would be an area of the game where the visitors would look to impose themselves against the Italian’s on Sunday. 

 

“When you get to that zone(close to the line), it’s either that(the rolling maul) or your pick and go game that’s got to be strong. Because of the penalty sanctions around the breakdown, you must be efficient when you get your opportunities. Five metres out or seven metres out, your drive has to be efficient and the same with your close-knit game. They(Zebre) have a good maul as well, so both teams are focusing on those three or four key areas and it’s paying dividends at the moment.”

 

In the Scarlets’ defeat, Connacht’s two tries — dotted down by Abraham Papali’i and Ultan Dillane respectively — came from close confines near the try line after powerful carries from the pack to establish field position. While the loss was disappointing, Duffy was pleased with that, forward-oriented element of the game. 

 

“We work very hard in that area. We just have to keep maintaining the work and the effort in there. We scored two in that phase of play and in that style of play(against Scarlets) and we just knocked one over the line, it was just an individual error. Creation is the hardest part, but we’re creating. Converting is what we want to focus on this weekend,” the former Connacht player said.

 

Elsewhere, centre Tom Farrell says that the mood in the camp is positive ahead of the trip to the Italians, and last weekend’s defeat has been learned from and the players have moved on. 

 

The 27-year-old appeared off the bench in the 20-14 reversal to the Scarlets and says that he — along with the rest of the squad — is keen to make amends on Sunday.

 

“The mood is always positive, it’s an enjoyable place to be. Although we lost on the weekend, we’ll park it, we’ll move on and we’ll stay positive,” the former Bedford Blues man said. 

“We’ll trust our game plan and what the coaches have put in place for us”. 

 

Zebre were defeated heavily by Ulster 14-57 in their last game, but Farrell says the Italians — who may welcome back some of their Italian international contingent after the Fiji versus Italy Nations Cup game was called off — will prove to be tough opposition. 

 

“We’re fully aware of the challenge. They’ve had a mixed bag of results, but I don’t think the Ulster game is a fair reflection of the team they are. They beat the Ospreys and they ran the Scarlets pretty close. They have a really strong team and strong squad to put out, so we’re fully aware going over that this is a massive game for us, considering we lost points last week. We’re going to send a strong team over and look to do a job.”

Following today’s team announcement, the Connacht medical team have issued the following squad update:
 
Niall Murray (shoulder) underwent surgery earlier this week and will be out action until January 2021.
 
Tom Farrell (thigh), Caolin Blade (ill), Peter Robb (groin) and Matt Healy (calf) will look to integrate into full team training next week.
 
Tiernan O’Halloran (hip) will continue to rehabilitate and will aim to integrate into team training the following week (19.10.20)
 
Cillian Gallagher (shoulder) continues his rehabilitation and aims to return to team training at the end of the month.
 
Sean O’Brien (foot) continues his rehabilitation.
 
Oisin Dowling (back) continues his rehabilitation from a long-term injury.
 
Stephen Fitzgerald (knee) continues to rehabilitate and will look to commence training integration in the coming weeks.
 
Ben O’Donnell (knee) has recently joined the squad and continues his rehabilitation from a long-term knee injury.
 
NOTE: PCR testing this week produced zero positive results amongst Connacht players and staff.

Following the end of week 4 of pre-season training, the Connacht management team have issued the following squad update.
 
Jonny Murphy (head), Matthew Burke (thigh), Finlay Bealham (ankle), Kieran Marmion (ankle), Tom Farrell (shoulder) and Matt Healy (ankle) have all returned to team training follow injuries they sustained prior to the postponement of fixtures.
 
Oisin Dowling (back) is undergoing a period of rehabilitation for a long term back injury and will integrate into team training towards the end of August
 
Quinn Roux (hand) is continuing his rehabilitation from a recent surgery on his hand and will integrate into team training towards the end of August
 
Sean O’Brien (foot) is progressing his rehabilitation and will integrate into team training in early September.
 
Peter Robb (thigh) is recovering from a hamstring injury and will integrate into team training towards the middle of August
 
Stephen Fitzgerald (knee) is continuing his rehabilitation from knee surgery earlier this year and will integrate into team training in early October.

Connacht Rugby are delighted to announce that Tiernan O’Halloran, Sean O’Brien and Tom Farrell have all signed contract extensions with the province taking them up to the end of the 2021/22 season.
 
The three signings come as a further boost to Connacht as they face Leinster this weekend in the Sportsground and then return to Champions Cup action at home to Montpellier at home on Sunday week.
 
O’Halloran is a product of the Connacht system having played his club rugby with Connemara RFC before going on to join the Connacht Academy. The 28 year old full back has made 175 appearances for his province and has been capped six times for Ireland.
 
Sean O’Brien has followed a similar path having played his underage rugby with Galwegians RFC. The 24 year old Connacht native has made almost 60 appearances in the Connacht jersey since making his senior debut in 2015. O’Brien has previously represented Ireland at Under 18, 19 and 20 level.
 
Centre Tom Farrell joined Connacht in 2017 and has gone on to make 55 appearances for Connacht. His impressive form over the past two seasons saw him named in Ireland’s Six Nations Squad in March 2019.
 
Commenting on the three contract extensions, Connacht Head Coach Andy Friend said: “We are delighted to announce that Tiernan, Sean and Tom have all committed to Connacht for a further two seasons. These three players are key to our ambitions and their signings are a statement of belief in what we are trying to achieve. We have made a positive start to the season so far but have some vital Pro14 and Champions Cup in the coming weeks. These signings are a great boost for the rest of the squad and everyone who supports Connacht Rugby”.
 

Connacht centre Tom Farrell is set for his first start of the Guinness PRO14 season as his side travel to Swansea to take on the Ospreys on Saturday (Kick off 5:15pm). Farrell is included following his two tries against the Cheetahs in The Sportsground last weekend.
 
Farrell and his midfield partner Peter Robb are included in a back line that also includes winger Niyi Adeolokun who finished the Cheetahs game as Man of the Match after scoring one try and setting up a second. He is part of a back three that includes John Porch on the opposite wing and Darragh Leader who has returned from injury to take his place at full back.
 
The impressive Conor Fitzgerald continues at out-half alongside Kieran Marmion who has scored three tries in the opening four games of the season.
 
In the pack, injury has forced Head Coach Andy Friend to make a number of changes for the trip to Wales. Dominic Robertson McCoy replaces Finlay Bealham at tighthead, while there is a new second row with Ultan Dillane and Joe Maksymiw coming in from the start.
 
There is a settled look about the back row, where Captain Jarrad Butler is named at openside with Eoghan Masterson at blindside and Paul Boyle at number 8.
 
Commenting ahead of the game, Connacht Head Coach Andy Friend said; “Our squad is in confident mood after three bonus point wins in a row. We have a few changes from the win over Cheetahs last weekend, but I am really happy with the depth we have in the squad and how we have performed so far”.
 
“Our win away to Dragons in Round Two was our first in Wales in a while so we will be looking to back that up with a win this weekend. Ospreys are a very competitive side especially when they are at home. We saw that last season when we played them over there, so we face a really tough test. We have Leinster and Montpellier coming up in the Sportsground over the next two weekends, so it is important for us to keep winning going into those games”.
 
 
Connacht Matchday Squad V Ospreys (Sat 2 NOV, 5.15PM)

(15-9): Darragh Leader, Niyi Adeolokun, Tom Farrell, Peter Robb, John Porch, Conor Fitzgerald, Kieran Marmion.
(1-8): Denis Buckley, Dave Heffernan, Dominic Robertson-McCoy, Ultan Dillane, Joe Maksymiw, Eoghan Masterson, Jarrad Butler (C), Paul Boyle.
Replacements: Jonny Murphy, Matthew Burke, Conor Kenny, Cillian Gallagher, Robin Copeland, Caolin Blade, Tom Daly, Stephen Fitzgerald.

The Guinness PRO14 Dream Team will be revealed tomorrow night in a TV special broadcast on Premier Sports 1 and eir sport 1.
 
A panel of over 75 media members were invited to take part in the voting. A group that included many former players and coaches alongside some of the most trusted and respected writers involved in covering rugby from across the UK, Ireland, Italy and South Africa.
 
The voting has now closed and three nominees have been identified at every position for the Guinness PRO14 Dream Team with 12 teams represented across all five participating countries.
 
The voting has been closer than ever thanks to the rich form of the near 300 internationals who compete in the Championship each season. The 2018/19 season has seen heightened levels of competitiveness across the Guinness PRO14 with Benetton Rugby becoming the first Italian team to reach the knock-out stages which saw Kieran Crowley voted as the Coach of the Season by his peers while the club also have seven nominations.
 
Benetton received the highest nominations, followed by Glasgow Warriors and Edinburgh (both six), Ulser, Munster and Connacht (all with five).
 
The best talent from eir sport and Premier Sport will break down the Dream Team selections and discuss who has rightly won their spot, and who was unlucky to miss out. Murray Kinsella, Rory Lawson, Sean Holley and Luke Fitzgerald, who were all part of the 75-plus voting panel, will come together for this TV special to voice their opinions on the best performers in the Guinness PRO14.
 
Please note: The show will be broadcast on Premier Sports 1 at 20:00 in the UK and on eir sport 1 at 19:00 in the Rep of Ireland.
 
Nominations (listed by alphabetical order):
 
Loosehead Prop
Dave Kilcoyne (Munster); Eric O’Sullivan (Ulster); Pierre Schoeman (Edinburgh)
 
Hooker
Epalahame Faiva (Benetton Rugby); Rob Herring (Ulster); Ken Owens (Scarlets)
 
Tighthead Prop
Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors), WP Nel (Edinburgh), Marco Riccioni (Benetton Rugby)
 
Second Row
Tadhg Beirne (Munster), Scott Cummings (Glasgow Warriors), Federico Ruzza (Benetton Rugby)
 
Second Row
Scott Fardy (Leinster); Jonny Gray (Glasgow Warriors); Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys)
 
Blindside Flanker
Max Deegan (Leinster); Peter O’Mahony (Munster); Josh Turnbull (Cardiff Blues)
 
Openside Flanker
Colby Fainga’a (Connacht), Braam Steyn (Benetton); Hamish Watson (Edinburgh)
 
No 8
Marcel Coetzee (Ulster), Bill Mata (Edinburgh), CJ Stander (Munster)
 
Scrum-Half
Caolin Blade (Connacht); John Cooney (Ulster); Dewaldt Duvenage (Benetton)
 
Out-half
Jack Carty (Connacht); Adam Hastings (Glasgow Warriors); Jaco van der Walt (Edinburgh)
 
Left Wing
Darcy Graham (Edinburgh); James Lowe (Leinster); Rabz Maxwane (Toyota Cheetahs)
 
Inside Centre
Bundee Aki (Connacht); Willis Halaholo (Cardiff Blues); Stuart McCloskey (Ulster)
 
Outside Centre
Tom Farrell (Connacht); Rey Lee-Lo (Cardiff Blues); Nick Grigg (Glasgow Warriors)
 
Right Wing
Monty Ioane (Benetton Rugby); Johnny McNicholl (Scarlets); Ratuva Tavuyara (Benetton Rugby)
 
Full Back
Dan Evans (Ospreys); Mike Haley (Munster); Matthew Morgan (Cardiff Blues)

Voting is now OPEN for the Connacht Rugby 2018/19 Supporters’ Player of the Year Award, sponsored by Elverys.
 
Three players who have excelled on the field this year have been put forward for nomination by the official Connacht supporters group The Connacht Clan, and now it’s up to you to decide who’ll receive the accolade.
 
Caolin Blade, Jack Carty and Tom Farrell are your three nominees, so to vote just pick who you think deserves the award in the link below. Voting closes at lunchtime on Thursday 11th April.
 
The winner will be announced at the sold-out Connacht Rugby Awards Ball at The Salthill Hotel in Galway this Saturday!
 

Who should win the 2018/19 Connacht Rugby Supporters' Player of the Year Award?

Check out all the highlights from Saturday’s impressive 46-5 win over the Ospreys at a windy Sportsground – a result that has sent Andy Friend’s side back into the playoff spots with just four games to play.
 

Connacht have been boosted by the return of Ultan Dillane, Quinn Roux, Tom Farrell and Caolin Blade from international duty and are named in the Connacht squad to play Ospreys in the Sportsground on Saturday (Kick Off 2:45pm).
 
Dillane and Roux continue their second row partnership that started the Six Nations game against Italy last weekend. They join a front five that includes props Denis Buckley and Finlay Bealham with Shane Delahunt coming in at hooker.
 
The back row remains unchanged from the game against Glasgow, with captain Jarrad Butler starting at number 8 and Eoin McKeon and Colby Fainga’a at blindside and openside respectively.
 
Kieran Marmion starts his second game in a row at scrum half after returning from injury. He forms a half back partnership with Kyle Godwin who comes in at out half.
 
In the midfield Peter Robb gets his first start of the season after impressing off the bench last time out. He is joined in the centre by the returning Tom Farrell.
 
The back three is unchanged with Stephen Fitzgerald and Matt Healy on the wings and Tiernan O’Halloran at full back.
 
With Connacht sitting three points ahead of Ospreys in Conference A of the PRO14, Head Coach Andy Friend knows how important a home win could prove against their conference rivals; “We have trained well and prepared well this week. We have seen a really positive response from the players after a disappointing result last weekend in Glasgow. We will continue to focus on our game and what we can control, as we have done all season. We know every game now is a must win and with a two week break before our next game we are determined to finish this block on a high”, Friend said.
 
Commenting on his team selection, he added: “We are boosted by four of our players coming back from international duty. They bring a huge amount of experience to our match day squad”, he added.
 
#CONvOSP
Kick-off 2:45pm:
(15-9) Tiernan O’Halloran, Stephen Fitzgerald, Tom Farrell, Peter Robb, Matt Healy, Kyle Godwin, Kieran Marmion, (1-8) Denis Buckley, Shane Delahunt, Finlay Bealham, Quinn Roux, Ultan Dillane, Eoin McKeon, Colby Fainga’a, Jarrad Butler (Capt).
Replacements (16-23): Tom McCartney, Peter McCabe, Conor Carey, James Cannon, Paul Boyle, Caolin Blade, Tom Daly, Cian Kelleher.

Related

Caolin Blade makes return from injury in Benetton re-fixture

Connacht Fall To Narrow Bristol Bears Loss
JCarty

Connacht Fall To Narrow Bristol Bears Loss

1 month ago
PREVIEW: Zebre v Connacht
JDuffy

PREVIEW: Zebre v Connacht

2 months ago
Connacht Squad Update Friday 13th November 2020
BODonnell

Connacht Squad Update Friday 13th November 2020

2 months ago