Pro 14

  • Bundee Aki has returned to the Connacht starting team for their European Challenge Cup Quarter Final against Sale Sharks on Friday night (Kick Off 7:45pm - Live BT Sports 2). This will be Aki's first start for Connacht since featuring in all of Ireland's games in the recent Six Nations Championship.

     The Connacht side will be captained by hooker Tom McCartney, who makes his 100th appearance for the province. Carty also returns to the starting line-up, having come off the bench in the home win over Benetton last weekend. Alongside Carty will be fellow international Kieran Marmion who also featured off the bench last time out.

    In the back three, Darragh Leader is named at full back with Cian Kelleher and Niyi Adeolokun on the wings. Adeolokun makes his first start since November, when he picked up an arm injury against the Toyota Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.

    Aki's inclusion in the midfield sees him form a partnership with the versatile Kyle Godwin.

    Up front, props Peter McCabe and Dominic Robertson-McCoy join McCartney in the front row. While in the second row Gavin Thornbury continues his return from injury alongside James Cannon.

    In the back row Eoghan Masterson and James Connolly are named at blindside and openside respectively, with 22 year old Paul Boyle at number 8.

    (15-9) Darragh Leader, Niyi Adeolokun, Kyle Godwin, Bundee Aki, Cian Kelleher, Jack Carty, Kieran Marmion, (1-8) Peter McCabe, Tom McCartney (Capt), Dominic Robertson-McCoy, James Cannon, Gavin Thornbury, Eoghan Masterson, James Connolly, Paul Boyle.

    Replacements (16-23): Dave Heffernan, Denis Buckley, Finlay Bealham, Joe Maksymiw, Robin Copeland, Caolin Blade, Tom Daly, Stephen Fitzgerald.

     

  • Honda as official partner of the PRO14 Final are giving one Under 12 team from each province the chance to play at half time at the PRO14 Final at the Aviva Stadium on the 26 May in front of 50,000 rugby supporters. To enter the competition a two minute video from the Under 12 team had to be submitted and three finalists from each province were selected.

    The Claremorris Colts RFC Under 12 team have been selected as one of the Finalists from Connacht – but they need your vote to win.

    So give the chance to Claremorris Colts RFC Under 12 team to play at half time with Honda at the PRO14 Final at the Aviva Stadium – please vote for their video by logging on to http://www.playthefinal.honda.ie

    The team with the most votes from each province will then play another club from a different province on the day.

     

  • Connacht coach Andy Friend has made two changes for tomorrow's crucial Guinness Pro14 clash with Cardiff at the Sportsground.

    Ireland international Bundee Aki returns to replace Peter Robb in the centre while Paul Boyle comes in for Eoin McKeon at openside flanker.

    Victory for the western province would secure their place in the Heineken Champions Cup next season and Boyle says they're getting used to high pressure matches.

  • Connacht will be aiming to beat Ulster in Belfast for the first time in 58 years tonight.

    The Northern Province have recalled Ireland captain Rory Best and wing Jacob Stockdale.

    Connacht captain Jarrad Butler has returned from injury to take his place in the Connacht starting team to face Ulster on Friday in Kingspan Stadium (Kick off 7:35pm).

    Butler is one of four changes to the Connacht side that started against Leinster last weekend. Academy player Paul Boyle also comes into the back row where he is named at number 8.

    There is one change in the front row as Tom McCartney starts at hooker in place of the injured Dave Heffernan who captained the team against Leinster. The remainder of the front 5 is unchanged with props Denis Buckley and Finlay Bealham both included as is Ultan Dillane and Quinn Roux in the second row. 

    Jack Carty and Kieran Marmion continue their half back partnership as do Bundee Aki and Tom Farrell in the midfield. 

    Matt Healy’s return from injury on the wing sees him included in a back three that includes Niyi Adeolokun on the opposite wing and Tiernan O’Halloran at full back. 

    The Connacht team to face Ulster tonight is as follows.

    Connacht: Tiernan O’Halloran; Niyi Adeolokun, Tom Farrell, Bundee Aki, Matt Healy; Jack Carty, Kieran Marmion; Denis Buckley, Tom McCartney, Finlay Bealham; Ultan Dillane, Quinn Roux; Sean O’Brien, Jarrad Butler (C), Paul Boyle

    Reps: Shane Delahunt, Peter McCabe, Conor Carey, James Cannon, Colby Fainga’a, Caolin Blade, Kyle Godwin, Cian Kelleher

  • Connacht scrum half Kieran Marmion has returned from injury to take his place in the Connacht side to play Glasgow Warriors in Scotstoun on Friday (kick-off 7:35pm). Marmion came off the bench in Connacht's victory over the Cheetahs last week, but this will be his first start since Ireland's win over the All Blacks in November.  

    Marmion forms a half-back partnership with 21 year old Academy player Conor Fitzgerald who comes in for Jack Carty. Fitzgerald's brother Stephen is set for his second consecutive start on the wing and is part of a back three that includes Matt Healy on the opposite wing and Tiernan O'Halloran at full back.

    Kyle Godwin and Tom Daly form the midfield partnership, with Bundee Aki and Tom Farrell away on international duty.

    In the forwards, Dave Heffernan comes in at hooker in a front row that includes loosehead Denis Buckley and tighthead Finlay Bealham. 21 year old Sligo man Cillian Gallagher starts in the second row alongside James Cannon.

    In the back row, Head Coach Andy Friend has retained the same trio that started the win over Cheetahs last weekend, with Captain Jarrad Butler starting at number 8 and Eoin McKeon and Colby Fainga'a at blindside and open side respectively.

    Kick-off 7:35pm:

    (15-9) Tiernan O'Halloran, Stephen Fitzgerald, Kyle Godwin, Tom Daly, Matt Healy, Conor Fitzgerald, Kieran Marmion, (1-8) Denis Buckley, Dave Heffernan, Finlay Bealham, Cillian Gallagher, James Cannon, Eoin McKeon, Colby Fainga'a, Jarrad Butler (Capt).

    Replacements (16-23): Shane Delahunt, Peter McCabe, Conor Carey, Joe Maksymiw, Paul Boyle, Caolin Blade, Peter Robb, Cian Kelleher.

  • Connacht captain John Muldoon will lead his province out in his 327th and final appearance against Leinster in the Guinness PRO-14 tomorrow. 

    Tom Farrell and Bundee Aki continue their partnership in midfield while Ireland internationals Tiernan O'Halloran, Matt Healy and Niyi Adeolokun all start in the back three. 

    Connacht: 

    (15-9) Tiernan O’Halloran, Niyi Adeolokun, Tom Farrell, Bundee Aki, Matt Healy, Jack Carty, Kieran Marmion, (1-8) Denis Buckley, Shane Delahunt, Finlay Bealham, Gavin Thornbury, Quinn Roux, Eoin McKeon, Jarrad Butler, John Muldoon (Capt).

    Replacements (16-23): Tom McCartney, Peter McCabe, Conor Carey, Ultan Dillane, Eoghan Masterson, Caolin Blade, Craig Ronaldson, Darragh Leader.


     

  • Prop Denis Buckley is set to make his 150th appearance for his province as the Roscommon man is named in Connacht's starting side to face Munster in the Sportsground on Saturday (Kick off 7:35pm). Tickets for the interpro derby have completely sold out as Andy Friend's side go into the fixture with six wins in their last seven games.

    Buckley is named in a front row that includes hooker Dave Heffernan who takes over the captaincy from Jarrad Butler who picked up a knock in the win over Ulster. In the second row the partnership of Quinn Roux and Gavin Thornbury continues with Ultan Dillane named among the replacements.

    Jack Carty and Caolin Blade continue their half back partnership, with Blade named in the match day squad for the 16th game in a row.

    In the midfield Tom Daly, who joined Connacht on loan in December, is set to make his Connacht debut alongside Tom Farrell.

    In the back three, Connacht's record try scorer Matt Healy returns from injury to take his place on the wing with Cian Kelleher on the opposite wing and Darragh Leader at full back.

    Kick-off 7:35pm:

    (15-9) Darragh Leader, Cian Kelleher, Tom Farrell, Tom Daly, Matt Healy, Jack Carty, Caolin Blade, (1-8) Denis Buckley, Dave Heffernan (Capt), Dominic Robertson Mc-Coy, Gavin Thornbury, Quinn Roux, Paul Boyle, Colby Fainga'a, Eoghan Masterson.

    Replacements (16-23): Tom McCartney, Peter McCabe, Finlay Bealham, Ultan Dillane, Cillian Gallagher, Angus Lloyd, David Horwitz, Colm DeBuitlear.

  • connacht rugby

    Connacht will welcome a number of players back from injury for Friday's Pro 14 meeting with the Ospreys.

    Finlay Bealham, Craig Ronaldson, Sean O'Brien, Andrew Browne and Steve Crosbie are among those available to Kieran Keane again.

    Meanwhile, the province say winger Niyi Adeolokun is making good progress with his hamstring injury and could return later this month.

  • Jacob Stockdale will miss Saturday's Pro 14 quarter final with Connacht.

    The Ireland winger still hasn't recovered from the hamstring injury sustained in the win away to Edinburgh.

    However, Rory Best is in contention for the game at Kingspan Stadium after making faster-than-expected recovery from an ankle ligament injury.

    Connacht will be without second row Quinn Roux for that game.

  •  

    A disappointing first season looks like costing Kieran Keane his job at Connacht.

    The province is reportedly ready to part ways with their head coach just one-year into a three-year deal.

    Connacht finished second-from-bottom in Conference A of the Pro 14, with Saturday's 47-10 win over Leinster being just their seventh victory of the season.

  • Quinn Roux's another that has been released from international duty, and he's on the bench for Connacht's meeting with the Ospreys in the Pro 14.

    Second row Andrew Browne finally returns from an Achilles to make his first appearance of the season.

    While James Cannon and out-half Craig Ronaldson are also restored to the Connacht side.

  • Ireland lock Ultan Dillane will start for Connacht in their Guinness PRO14 match at the Cheetahs tomorrow evening.

    The only other change from last week's win over Benetton sees Toulouse-bound Pita Ahki comes into midfield to partner Eoin Griffin in the centre.