Head Coach Pat Lam has named his side for the opening round of the GUINNESS PRO12 against Newport Gwent Dragons at the Sportsground tomorrow night, KO 7:30pm.

Academy centre Rory Parata will make his PRO12 debut after starting in two pre-season games against Castres and Munster. Bundee Aki will partner the 21-year-old in midfield.

Up front new flanker Nepia Fox-Matamua earns his first cap in a Connacht jersey starting in a back row with captain John Muldoon and Number 8 Eoghan Masterson.

Former Leinster lock Ben Marshall is likely to be sprung from the bench for his first official Connacht appearance.

Commenting on the team selection and the upcoming game, Lam said:

“After a rigorous but successful pre-season, the players really made selection difficult for us ahead of tomorrow’s game and that was pleasing.

“I’m delighted for young Rory Parata who has had a good off-season and impressed in the warm-up games. It just highlights that if you put the work in your chance will come.

“It’s always a tight and physical battle with the Dragons and we’re expecting nothing different tomorrow night with both sides looking to get off to a flying start.”

Connacht line-up v Newport Gwent Dragons

15. Tiernan O’Halloran
14. Danie Poolman
13. Rory Parata
12. Bundee Aki
11. Matt Healy
10. Jack Carty
9. Kieran Marmion

1. Denis Buckley
2. Tom McCartney
3. Rodney Ah You
4. Quinn Roux
5. Andrew Browne
6. John Muldoon (captain)
7. Nepia Fox-Matamua
8. Eoghan Masterson

Replacements:

16. Dave Heffernan
17. JP Cooney
18. Finlay Bealham
19. Ben Marshall
20. Eoin McKeon
21. John Cooney
22. Craig Ronaldson
23. Fionn Carr 

Unavailable / Injured: Nathan White, Ronan Loughney, Jake Heenan, Dave McSharry, Api Pewhairangi, Niyi Adeolokun, Darragh Leader, Robbie Henshaw.

CONNACHT v NEWPORT GWENT DRAGONS
Friday September 4th
At the Sportsground, 7:30pm

Tickets starting at €20 for Adults available from tickets.ie The Clan stand is already sold out so don’t miss out and get your ticket now. Haven’t decided on a Season Ticket yet? Keep your Connacht v Dragons ticket and redeem the price later against a full price Season Ticket.

Connacht v Dragons is not on TV. Follow @ConnachtRugby on Twitter for live updates.

 

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