The Connacht side to face Leicester Tigers tomorrow (k/o 3.15pm) has been named, with Andy Friend’s side aiming to go one step closer to a first appearance in the knockout stage.
 
There are three changes from the side originally named to face Munster on New Year’s Day. Two of those come in the tight five where Shane Delahunt starts at hooker and Niall Murray comes into the second row. Props Matthew Burke and Finlay Bealham and lock Oisín Dowling retain their places.
 
The back row as well as the half-back and centre pairings are all unchanged. Jarrad Butler is at number 8 with flankers Cian Prendergast and Conor Oliver alongside him, while Jack Carty captains the side beside scrum-half Kieran Marmion. Bundee Aki and Sammy Arnold start at 12 and 13 respectively.
 
The final change is in the back three where Connacht’s all-time record try scorer Matt Healy comes in for his first appearance of the season, starting on the wing with John Porch on the opposite wing and Tiernan O’Halloran at full-back.
 
Among the replacements is Paul Boyle who has recovered from injury to return to the matchday 23 for the first time since the end of November.
 
Commenting on the team selection, Head Coach Andy Friend says:
 
“This is a huge game and a huge opportunity for the club, but we’ve been treating this like any other game that we want to win. We’ve grown as a group even in the last month since we visited Leicester, so now it’s all about executing and playing as well as I know we’re capable of.
 
We’ll no doubt miss the few extra thousand supporters who would’ve been at The Sportsground without the current restrictions, but I’m sure those lucky enough to have a ticket will make their voices heard.”

 
CONNACHT RUGBY MATCHDAY 23 VS LEICESTER TIGERS
Saturday 15th January, 15:15 @ The Sportsground
 
Number/Name/Caps ( * denotes uncapped)
15. Tiernan O’Halloran (197)
14. John Porch (47)
13. Sammy Arnold (26)
12. Bundee Aki (114)
11. Matt Healy (150)
10. Jack Carty (169) (C)
9. Kieran Marmion (196)
1. Matthew Burke (33)
2. Shane Delahunt (110)
3. Finlay Bealham (168)
4. Oisín Dowling (14)
5. Niall Murray (24)
6. Cian Prendergast (18)
7. Conor Oliver (30)
8. Jarrad Butler (83)

Replacements
16. Dave Heffernan (153)
17. Tietie Tuimauga (2)
18. Jack Aungier (22)
19. Ultan Dillane (123)
20. Paul Boyle (63)
21. Caolin Blade (139)
22. Conor Fitzgerald (44)
23. Tom Farrell (67)

Related

REPORT: Connacht 21-26 Leinster