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Connacht Make Six Changes For Visit Of Scarlets

Connacht Make Six Changes For Visit Of Scarlets

Ireland International Robbie Henshaw will line out at the Sportsground for the second week in a row after he was released from international camp to play for his province against the Scarlets on Saturday (kick-off 3pm).

Forwards Finlay Bealham and Ultan Dillane, who were two of five uncapped players drafted into Joe Schmidt’s RBS 6 Nations squad, have also been released for Saturday’s GUINNESS PRO12 showdown.

Bealham, who will start at tighthead prop, is one of six frontline changes made by Connacht boss Pat Lam from last week, while lock Dillane takes a place on the bench.  

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Against league leaders the Scarlets, there will be a new half-back pairing with Connacht-born duo Jack Carty and Caolin Blade both named to start in a back-line averaging just 23 years of age. 

Hooker Tom McCartney is promoted from the bench to join Denis Buckley and Bealham in the front row. George Naoupu and Jake Heenan are both named to start in the pack, while Ronan Loughney, Ian Porter and Craig Ronaldson have been included among the replacements.

Commenting on the team selection and the rematch with the Llanelli side, Lam said: “While we were pleased with last week’s performance (against Enisei-STM), we know that the Scarlets present a completely different challenge. They are top of the league and will travel with confidence especially with their PRO12 form away from home.

“We know from our recent meeting with them that it will probably be a closely-fought contest once again and we will have to bring that clinical edge that was on show last week if we are to come out on top.

“We are back at home on a Saturday afternoon for the second week in a row and we’re really looking forward to playing in front of a packed-out Sportsground before we take a short break. A win would keep us in the top four where we have been all season and would sign off this block of 16 consecutive games very nicely for us and our supporters.”

CONNACHT (v Scarlets): Tiernan O’Halloran; Danie Poolman, Robbie Henshaw, Bundee Aki, Matt Healy; Jack Carty, Caolin Blade; Denis Buckley, Tom McCartney, Finlay Bealham, George Naoupu, Aly Muldowney, John Muldoon (capt), Jake Heenan, Eoghan Masterson.

Replacements: Dave Heffernan, Ronan Loughney, Rodney Ah You, Ultan Dillane, James Connolly, Ian Porter, Craig Ronaldson, Rory Parata.