Thursday, April 14, 2022

Connacht Head Coach Andy Friend has made one change to his starting line-up for tomorrow’s Heineken Champions Cup last 16 second-leg encounter with Leinster at the Aviva Stadium (5.30pm).

Ballina native Dave Heffernan will start at hooker in tomorrow evening’s clash with Leinster.

Galway man Caolin Blade comes in for Kieran Marmion at scrum-half, which is the only change from the 26-21 defeat in the first-leg at the Sportsground last week.

Ballina’s Dave Heffernan and Ballinrobe’s Matthew Burke maintain their places in the front-row alongside Finlay Bealham.

Ballinrobe’s Matthew Burke will start in the front-row in tomorrow’s clash

Kieran Marmion is named among the replacements while there’s two further changes on the bench, with the inclusion of Denis Buckley having returned from injury, and hooker Jonny Murphy. Conor Fitzgerald will make his 50th appearance for the province if called upon.

A win of six points or more would see Connacht qualify for the quarter-finals of the Heineken Champions Cup for the first time in their history.

Commenting on the team announcement, Andy Friend says:

“While our performance last week was good overall, there was a very real sense of disappointment that we didn’t get the win. Having said that, I know this group can bring their performance on another level, which is essential if we’re to reach the last eight.

We’ve a good record in the Aviva over the last two years or so and it’s a pitch that suits our style of rugby. Coupled with a strong travelling support behind us it’s set to be another great occasion.”

Connacht’s team vs Leinster

15. Tiernan O’Halloran (204)
14. John Porch (55)
13. Tom Farrell (76)
12. Bundee Aki (116)
11. Mack Hansen (11)
10. Jack Carty (176) (C)
9. Caolin Blade (147)

1. Matthew Burke (37)
2. Dave Heffernan (161)
3. Finlay Bealham (171)
4. Gavin Thornbury (60)
5. Leva Fifita (12)
6. Cian Prendergast (27)
7. Conor Oliver (38)
8. Jarrad Butler (92)

16. Jonny Murphy (20)
17. Denis Buckley (204)
18. Jack Aungier (28)
19. Oisín Dowling (22)
20. Abraham Papali’i (23)
21. Kieran Marmion (205)
22. Sammy Arnold (36)
23. Conor Fitzgerald (49)

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