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Aki Returns As Connacht Make Three Changes

Aki Returns As Connacht Make Three Changes

Connacht welcome provincial rivals Ulster to the Sportsground on Saturday (kick-off 2.40pm), and head coach Pat Lam has made three personnel changes to the team named to play Gloucester last week.

As the fit-again Bundee Aki makes a welcome return in midfield, the rejigged back-line sees Robbie Henshaw, Danie Poolman and Tiernan O’Halloran all move out one place. Craig Ronaldson has been handed the reins at out-half for his 11th start this season.
Up front, George Naoupu represents the only change to the pack. He comes in at number 8, allowing captain John Muldoon to revert to blindside flanker.
The Galway-born duo of Ronan Loughney and Eoin McKeon have both returned from injury to take up places on the bench, while Ultan Dillane, John Cooney and Miah Nikora are the other additions to the matchday squad.
Commenting on the team selection and this weekend’s interpro clash, Pat Lam said: “We have no doubt that Saturday will be a massive challenge against a quality Ulster side who have been up near the top of the table for the whole season. With their Six Nations stars back, they’ll be coming here all guns blazing as they vie for a home semi-final.

“But we are back on our Sportsground for the first time in six weeks and we’re in a really exciting place in the league. We have put ourselves in a position where we still have so much to play for at this time of the season. A top six finish is still very much in our hands.

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“These are the types of pressure games that you want this young group of players to be playing in and we know we need to put in a big team performance tomorrow.”
The Connacht v Ulster round 19 fixture at the Sportsground is approaching a sell-out with tickets remaining for behind the posts only. Tickets are available online from tickets.ie.
CONNACHT (v Ulster):
Tiernan O’Halloran; Danie Poolman, Robbie Henshaw, Bundee Aki, Matt Healy; Craig Ronaldson, Kieran Marmion; Denis Buckley, Tom McCartney, Rodney Ah You, Quinn Roux, Aly Muldowney, John Muldoon (capt), Eoghan Masterson, George Naoupu.
Replacements: Shane Delahunt, Ronan Loughney, Finlay Bealham, Ultan Dillane, Eoin McKeon, John Cooney, Miah Nikora, Darragh Leader.