Jump to main content


Connacht Announce Side For First Friendly

Connacht Announce Side For First Friendly

Connacht have announced their team and replacements for Saturday’s pre-season friendly against Exeter Chiefs at Dubarry Park (kick-off 5.30pm).

This will be the first chance head coach Eric Elwood and his coaching team will have to see the new-look Connacht team in action, with six of the starting players making their debuts for the province.

In the front row, former Saracens hooker Ethienne Reynecke is set for his first start, propped by fellow South African Dylan Rogers and New Zealander Rodney Ah You.

Google Ad Manager – 300×250 – In Article

There will be no lack of height and bulk in the second row – Dave Nolan, who stands at 6ft 6in and weighs 120kg, and Michael Swift, who is an inch smaller but weighs the same, will provide the power in the engine room.

The selected back row consists of former Ulster flanker Thomas Anderson at blindside, last season’s stand-in captain Johnny O’Connor at openside and the formidable George Naoupu, on his return from Japan, at number 8.

Former underage internationals Paul O’Donohoe and Niall O’Connor combine in a brand new half-back combination, while Samoan powerhouse Henry Fa’afili joins another Galway native, Eoin Griffin, in the centre.

Connacht’s top try scorer from last season, Brian Tuohy, Ireland full-back Gavin Duffy and debutant Mark McCrea complete the back-three.

Commenting on Saturday’s fixture in Athlone, Elwood said: “Everyone’s looking forward to this match, the guys have worked very hard during pre-season and this is where they get to show that effort.

“This is the players’ chance to show the coaches what they can do and to stake a claim for a jersey.

“There is also an extended bench, including some Academy players, so there will be plenty of opportunity for supporters to see some of the new faces in the squad ahead of our first home game in the RaboDirect PRO12, against the Scarlets on September 10.”

CONNACHT (v Exeter Chiefs): Gavin Duffy; Mark McCrea, Eoin Griffin, Henry Fa’afili, Brian Tuohy; Niall O’Connor, Paul O’Donohoe; Dylan Rogers, Ethienne Reynecke, Rodney Ah You, Michael Swift, Dave Nolan, Thomas Anderson, Johnny O’Connor, George Naoupu.

Replacements (from): Adrian Flavin, Dermot Murphy, Denis Buckley, Finlay Bealham, Michael Kearney, John Muldoon, Ray Ofisa, Eoin McKeon, David Heffernan, Frank Murphy, Dave Moore, Matthew Jarvis, James Loxton, Dave McSharry, Tiernan O’Halloran.