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McCartney And Heenan Return To Connacht Team

McCartney And Heenan Return To Connacht Team

In naming his team for the New Year’s Day clash with Leinster at the RDS (kick-off 5pm), Connacht head coach Pat Lam has made three changes to the side that lined out against Ulster last weekend.

While the back-line remains unchanged, the pack has been boosted by the return from injury of hooker Tom McCartney and openside flanker Jake Heenan. This will be the first game of the season for the 23-year-old Heenan who underwent shoulder surgery in May.

Galway man Andrew Browne is also introduced for the round 11 fixture in Dublin, joining Aly Muldowney in the second row.

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Commenting on the team selection and preparations for his side’s second successive interprovincial tie, Pat Lam said: “It’s great to have both Tom and Jake back from injury and ready for this game having joined us in training over the past few weeks. Tom adds that bit of experience and leadership that is needed in these big games, especially with our young back-line.

“We are all delighted to see Jake returning after what has been a challenging six months for him. He has worked extremely hard to get back to this point with the help of our medical and S&C teams and he is raring to go.

“I’m pleased with the quality of the week’s preparation we have had as a squad. We travel to Dublin tomorrow confident in the knowledge that we have a good chance of getting the points on offer against Leinster as long as we play as a team and can take the opportunities we create. Although we face a big hurdle at the RDS, we are excited by it and are looking forward to the challenge.”

CONNACHT (v Leinster): Tiernan O’Halloran; Niyi Adeolokun, Bundee Aki, Craig Ronaldson, Matt Healy; Jack Carty, Kieran Marmion; Finlay Bealham, Tom McCartney, Nathan White, Aly Muldowney, Andrew Browne, John Muldoon (capt), Jake Heenan, Eoghan Masterson.

Replacements: Dave Heffernan, Ronan Loughney, Rodney Ah You, Ultan Dillane, Sean O’Brien, Ian Porter, AJ MacGinty, Rory Parata.