Connacht Rugby

  • Connacht Rugby have confirmed that Dewald Senekal will join the province as Forwards Coach from the beginning of the 2021-22 season.
     
    Senekal arrives with extensive coaching experience, most recently serving as Forwards Coach for Stade Francais in the Top 14 after taking over from Paul O’Connell in the role.

    From 2017-2019 he was Joint Head Coach of Grenoble, leading them to promotion from Pro D2 to the Top 14 in his first season.
     
    The 40 year old South African began his coaching career in 2015 as Forwards Coach of Bayonne where he finished a long playing career.

    He also played for French sides Toulon and Agen, and South African sides the Cheetahs and Lions.

  • 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.

    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.

     

    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.

  • Connacht have confirmed the signings of Australia 7s international Ben O’Donnell and Kiwi number eight Abraham Papali’i.

    The pair will link up with the squad before the start of the 2020/21 Guinness PRO14 season.
     
    Ben O’Donnell joins from the Australian Sevens programme, having played 95 matches for his country since he was handed his debut in 2017 under Andy Friend.

    New Zealander Abraham Papali’i arrives from Bay of Plenty where he was a key member of the squad that won the Mitre 10 Cup Championship last year.

  • Connacht are set to install temporary terracing at the Sportsground for Saturday's Guinness PRO14 clash with Munster.

    It'll increase the capacity at the Galway venue to 8,129 and the western province say they've had a "huge demand" for tickets.

    The additional terracing will be at the Bohermore and College Road ends of the stadium.

  • The Heineken Champions Cup fixtures for the upcoming season have been released.

    Leinster host Benetton in their opening Pool One game on Saturday November 16th.

    Munster travel to Ospreys and Ulster take a trip to Bath on the same day.

    Connacht begin their European campaign with Montpellier visiting the Sportsgrounds on Sunday November 17th.

  • Connacht have been boosted by confirmation that Bundee Aki will be available to face Leinster in their first interprovincial game of the season, as well as their return to Champions Cup rugby the following week.

    Aki will sit out the final game of his 3-match suspension away to Ospreys on Saturday - a ban that was handed down when he became the first Irish player to be sent off in a World Cup match, against Samoa earlier this month - but he will be back when Connacht take on Leinster on Friday week 8th November.

    Out-half Jack Carty will also make his return for the derby with Leinster at the Sportsground, following his impressive World Cup, after both internationals were pencilled in for training next week.

     

  • Connacht have been boosted by the return to fitness of full-back Tiernan O'Halloran for their game against Benetton.

     

    The Ireland international has made a swifter than expected recovery from a hamstring injury.

     

    Flanker Jarrad Butler and prop Denis Buckley also come into the side.

     

    Niyi Adeolokun and Ultan Dillane are both among the replacements.

  • Connacht have pulled off a dramatic 27-24 win over Gloucester in the European Champions Cup.

    A late try from Robin Copeland gave the Westerners a win that lifts them off the bottom of Pool One - and still in the hunt for the knockout stages.

    Caolin Blade and Shane Delahunt were the other try scorers for Connacht.

  •  Connacht 37     Edinburgh 26

     

    Connacht secured an important in-conference victory in Murrayfield yesterday evening, consigning Edinburgh to their third successive defeat this season.

    Andy Friend’s team produced a energetic display with five tries, as both sides played without their internationals.

  • Connacht Rugby has confirmed that "a number" of their players have tested positive for Covid-19 ahead of their game against Leinster on Saturday.

    It means that both squads have cases ahead of the Guinness Pro14 clash at the RDS.

    The western province said that additional tests, on top of their usual PCR allocation, were carried out after some members of their squad presented with what they called "minor symptoms."

  • Connacht have confirmed that nine players will depart the province this summer, including Ireland lock Quinn Roux.

    South African-native Roux opted against signing a new contract with the westerners with the signing of Tongan lock Leva Fifita set to fill the space left by his departure.

    Centre Sean O'Brien is moving to former European champions Exeter while Stephen Fitzgerald is retiring from rugby due to injury.

    Conor Dean, Colm de Buitlear, Cillian Gallagher, Conor Kenny, Stephen Kerins and Paddy McAllister will also be departing the club.

  • Connacht have confirmed the signing of former Munster prop Rory Burke.

    The 25-year old will join from English Championship side Nottingham ahead of the 2019-20 season.

    Burke's spent two-years in Nottingham and is a former Ireland under-20 international.

    Connacht have also confirmed that Academy scrum-half Stephen Kerins has signed his first professional contract.

     

     

  • Connacht have confirmed the signing of Robin Copeland.

    The back-row forward has signed a two-year contract at the Sportsground after it was announced last week he was to end his four-seasons with Munster.

    He will join Connacht at the end of the current season on a 2-year contract.

    Copeland has made over 60 appearances for Munster during four seasons with the club and previously played over 50 times with the Cardiff Blues.

    At international level, Copeland was capped for the Irish Senior International side when he made his debut against Georgia in November 2014. The back row has also represented the Irish Wolfhounds and Emerging Ireland sides.

     

  • Connacht have confirmed that they've parted ways with head-coach Kieran Keane.

    The 64-year-old had completed just one year of his three year term at the Sportsground.

    It was a disappointed season for the westerners who finished second bottom of Conference A of the Guinness PRO-14.

  • Connacht have been dealt a blow with centre Tom Farrell set to be sidelined for up to six weeks.

    The 26-year-old, who scored a try in last weekend's Champions Cup defeat to Toulouse, has a fractured shoulder.

    In better news for the province, Andy Friend will have a number of players returning for this Saturday's Pro14 visit of the Southern Kings.

    Bundee Aki, captain Jarrad Butler, Denis Buckley, and Niyi Adeolokun are among those back in the fold.

  • Andy Friend's Connacht were beaten 35 points to 29 by Montpellier today.

    Going into the game, neither side could have progressed to the knock-out stages of the competition.

  • The draw for next season's European Champions Cup has taken place in Switzerland.

    Munster has been handed a difficult pool alongside reigning champions Saracens, as well as Simon Zebo's Racing 92 and Ospreys.

    Leo Cullen's Leinster are in alongside Lyon, Northampton Saints and Italian side Benetton.

    While, Ulster will play Clermont Auvergne (PRON: Oh-verne), Harlequins and Bath.

    Connacht, who are back in the competition for the first time since 2016 have been drawn with Toulouse, Gloucester and Montpellier.

    The other pool includes Ronan O'Gara's La Rochelle alongside Exeter Chiefs, Glasgow Warriors and the Sale Sharks.

     

  • Munster and Leinster have been given home draws for the last-16 of this season's rearranged Heineken Champions Cup.

    They've been given home advantage based on results in the curtailed pool stage.

    Both Ulster and Connacht drop into the Challenge Cup.

    Draws for the knockout stage of both competitions will be made on March 9th.

    The round of 16 is due to be played across the first weekend in April.

    The Champions Cup final is still pencilled in for Marseille on May 22nd.

  • The Connacht Eagles make the trip to Ospreys in the Celtic Cup on Saturday.

    After defeating dragons in the Showgrounds last Friday in the opening round, the Connacht young guns will hope to continue that form into Saturday’s away clash.

    Kick-off in Bridgend is at 12 noon on Saturday.

  • Connacht were beaten 26 points to 22 by Racing 92 in Paris in the European Champions Cup.

    The Westerners did claim a losing bonus point which could prove vital going forward.

    Matt Healy, Alex Wootton and Conor Oliver claimed tries for Andy Friend’s side while Jack Carty and Tom Daly kicked seven points between them.