Tiernan O’Halloran will become the fourth Connacht player to reach 200 caps when he lines out against Glasgow Warriors at The Sportsground on Saturday (k/o 2.55pm).
 
The Clifden native made his Connacht debut in October 2009 at the age of just 18 and has been a mainstay in the squad ever since. He joins John Muldoon, Michael Swift and Denis Buckley as the only players to reach the historic milestone.
 
Buckley meanwhile will make a welcome return from a serious knee injury, with the prop among the replacements for what is due to be his first appearance of the season.
 
Jordan Duggan and Greg McGrath retain their places as starting props, with hooker Dave Heffernan alongside them in the front row. There’s a new look second row of Ultan Dillane and Leva Fifita, while Eoghan Masterson and Paul Boyle also come into the side in the back row. Jarrad Butler captains the team from openside flanker.
 
In the backs there’s a senior debut for Academy graduate Cathal Forde. The Galway native, who has signed a Pro contract from the beginning next season, starts at out-half with scrum-half Kieran Marmion alongside him.
 
The centre partnership is unchanged with Sammy Arnold alongside Tom Farrell, and there’s a start on the wing for another Academy graduate Diarmuid Kilgallen. Alex Wootton completes the side from the opposite wing.
 
Commenting on the team selection, Head Coach Andy Friend says:
 
“Tiernan’s 200th cap is a huge achievement for him. To play 200 times for one club is a testament to his loyalty to Connacht, his dedication to the game, and his ability as a footballer. The fact that he’s reached the milestone for his home province, having come through the ranks at Connemara RFC and Garbally College, only adds to the achievement.
 
Tomorrow’s game is a really important one in the context of the URC standings. We don’t have many home games left so it’s crucial we pick up as many points as possible in these fixtures. The results of the last two weeks were disappointing so it’s up to all of us to ensure we do enough for 80 minutes to get the win.”

 
CONNACHT RUGBY MATCHDAY 23 VS GLASGOW WARRIORS
Saturday 29th January, 14:55 @ The Sportsground
 
Number/Name/Caps ( * denotes uncapped)
15. Tiernan O’Halloran (199)
14. Alex Wootton (27)
13. Tom Farrell (69)
12. Sammy Arnold (28)
11. Diarmuid Kilgallen (6)
10. Cathal Forde *
9. Kieran Marmion (197)
1. Jordan Duggan (21)
2. Dave Heffernan (155)
3. Greg McGrath (2)
4. Ultan Dillane (124)
5. Leva Fifita (5)
6. Eoghan Masterson (116)
7. Jarrad Butler (85) (C)
8. Paul Boyle (65)
 
Replacements
16. Shane Delahunt (112)
17. Denis Buckley (200)
18. Tietie Tuimauga (3)
19. Oisín Dowling (16)
20. Seán Masterson (15)
21. Colm Reilly (7)
22. Shayne Bolton (2)
23. Oran McNulty (5)

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