Jump to main content


Connacht Make Eight Changes For Cardiff Encounter

Connacht Make Eight Changes For Cardiff Encounter

There are eight changes to the Connacht team to take on the Cardiff Blues in Friday’s GUINNESS PRO12 match at the Sportsground (kick-off 7.35pm).

Ireland international Kieran Marmion returns to the starting line-up to mark his 60th Connacht appearance while winger Niyi Adeolokun and centre Craig Ronaldson represent the other changes to the young back-line.

Up front, Galway-born prop Ronan Loughney earns his first start of the season after coming off the bench in the last two rounds.

Google Ad Manager – 300×250 – In Article

Nathan White also comes into the front row with Michael Kearney and Quinn Roux starting behind them in the pack. After missing last weekend’s game away to Glasgow Warriors, Willie Faloon returns to start at openside flanker.

Meanwhile, Carrick-on-Shannon-born back Shane Layden is promoted back to the bench following his debut from full-back in round 1.

Commenting on the team selection and Friday’s opponents, Connacht head coach Pat Lam said: “Kieran, Niyi and Willie return to the starting line-up after a break last week to recover from niggles and are all raring to go.

“With Dave (McSharry) taking on a huge physical workload in the last four games, we’re going to manage him this week. It’s great to give an opportunity to young Craig at 12 who has done well for us coming off the bench and will also offer us added kicking options.

“Up front we have some bruised bodies from the last few weeks so there is some rotation in the pack – it’s great to have some depth there to allow us to mix it up.

“Cardiff are a team full of quality internationals led by Lions captain Sam Warburton. Despite losing three from four, I can see the influence new coach Mark Hammett is having and the improvements they’re making week on week. We have no doubt that this is going to be a tough game.

“But for us, getting the four points this week is the priority. While we’ll be focused on the process, the support from our fans will help us massively. Against Leinster two weeks ago, I had never experienced that sort of noise, and it would be awesome if our supporters can replicate that again and some more tomorrow night.”

There are still Connacht v Cardiff Blues tickets remaining for the Main Stand, Seated Stand and behind the goals. Adult tickets start at €;20 while it is just €;5 for all juniors.

Tickets can be purchased online on www.tickets.ie, from Centra or SuperValu stores province-wide or from the Connacht Rugby office at the Sportsground (9am-5pm, Monday-Friday).

CONNACHT (v Cardiff Blues): Darragh Leader; Niyi Adeolokun, Robbie Henshaw, Craig Ronaldson, Danie Poolman; Jack Carty, Kieran Marmion; Ronan Loughney, David Heffernan, Nathan White, Michael Kearney, Quinn Roux, John Muldoon (capt), Willie Faloon, George Naoupu.

Replacements: Shane Delahunt, Denis Buckley, Rodney Ah You, Aly Muldowney, Eoin McKeon, Ian Porter, Fionn Carr, Shane Layden.