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Connacht Youngsters Given Chance To Impress

Connacht Youngsters Given Chance To Impress

Connacht coach Michael Bradley has confirmed his team and replacements for Sunday’s Magners League tie against the Scarlets, making nine changes to the side that accounted for Leinster in midweek.

Sunday afternoon (kick-off 2.05pm) will see Connacht take on the Scarlets whom they leapfrogged in the Magners League table after their terrific 27-13 home win over Leinster.

Having to play three league games in the space of seven days and prepare for an Amlin Challenge Cup semi-final against Toulon has stretched Connacht’s resources to the maximum.

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Affording some of his frontliners a well-deserved rest, the westerners’ coach Michael Bradley has made nine changes in personnel for the trip to Llanelli.

Troy Nathan, Brian Tuohy, Conor O’Loughlin, Ronan Loughney, Robbie Morris and Mike McComish are the only survivors from the side that toppled Leinster.

Ireland Under-20 duo Tiernan O’Halloran and Eoin Griffin will make their Magners League debuts, lining out on the right wing and at outside centre respectively.

This will be O’Halloran’s second competitive start for the province. He played earlier in the season in the Amlin Challenge Cup.

Liam Bibo has recovered from a hamstring to start at full-back, with Griffin partnering Troy Nathan in midfield and Brian Tuohy switching wings to the left.

Ian Keatley replaces Miah Nikora at out-half, while there are five changes up front. Adrian Flavin has been introduced into the front row, senior debutant David Nolan partners Bernie Upton in the second row and flanker Ray Ofisa makes a welcome return.

Ofisa, who has recovered from a bout of vertigo, will make his 50th league appearance and first since St. Patrick’s Day, linking up with Andrew Browne and McComish in the back row.

In all, the Connacht matchday squad includes 11 graduates of the Connacht Academy, and there is another potential Magners League debutant on the bench in the form of Ireland Under-19 back rower Eoin McKeon. 

CONNACHT (v Scarlets): Liam Bibo; Tiernan O’Halloran, Eoin Griffin, Troy Nathan, Brian Tuohy; Ian Keatley, Conor O’Loughlin; Ronan Loughney, Adrian Flavin (capt), Robbie Morris, David Nolan, Bernie Upton, Andrew Browne, Ray Ofisa, Mike McComish.

Replacements: Dermot Murphy, Conor Higgins, Eoin McKeon, Johnny O’Connor, Kieran Campbell, Miah Nikora, Aidan Wynne.