The Connacht Eagles team will face English side Doncaster Knights in round 2 of the British & Irish Cup, with the fixture kicking off at 2.30pm at Castle Park on Saturday.
Connacht Eagles head coach Nigel Carolan has made six personnel changes to the province’s side from the opening round defeat to the Dragons Premiership Select.
Centre Dave McSharry makes a welcome return from injury to link up with the Academy’s Cormac Brennan in midfield. On his return from the European Challenge Cup game in Russia, Caolin Blade starts at scrum half in an otherwise unchanged back-line.
The pack is made up of all Academy and sub-Academy players, with changes to the second row as Peter Claffey and Cillian Gallagher are promoted from the bench. Sean O’Brien, who earned his first cap for the senior side in Russia last Saturday, will captain the Eagles. He is joined in the back row by James Connolly who also played in the 31-14 win over Enisei-STM.
Commenting on the round 2 clash with Doncaster, Eagles head coach Nigel Carolan said: “We’re travelling with a young squad again but with a lot of positivity and determination to restore the form we saw in our interpro wins over Ulster ‘A’ and Leinster ‘A’.
“Doncaster drew with Jersey in round 1 but they had an impressive five-try win away to Bristol the week before so they will be confident. We are making progress ourselves and we hope to deliver a better performance this week.”
CONNACHT EAGLES (v Doncaster Knights): Ciaran Gaffney; Adam Leavy, Cormac Brennan, Dave McSharry, Ed O’Keeffe; Conor McKeon, Caolin Blade; Jacob Walshe, Pat O’Toole, Saba Meunargia, Peter Claffey, Cillian Gallagher, James Connolly, Rory Moloney, Sean O’Brien (capt).
Replacements: John Healy, Matthew Burke, Cian Romaine, Marc Kelly, Stephen Kerins, Aidan Moynihan, Stephen McVeigh.