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O’Halloran Returns To Connacht Line-Up

O’Halloran Returns To Connacht Line-Up

Ahead of Saturday’s GUINNESS PRO12 derby clash with Leinster at the RDS (kick-off 5.15pm), head coach Pat Lam has made three personnel changes to the Connacht team that defeated Zebre in Europe five days ago.

Tiernan O’Halloran, who missed out last week through injury, returns to the starting line-up and will take his place at full-back. Cian Kelleher, the province’s top try scorer so far this season, shifts to the left wing in a pacey back-three completed by Niyi Adeolokun.

In the pack, there are two changes with Dave Heffernan and Conor Carey coming into the front row. 28-year-old lock James Cannon, who signed with the province from Wasps last month, will make his Connacht debut should he feature from the bench.

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Commenting on the team selection and the interprovincial encounter, Pat Lam said: “Despite the high number of injuries that we have, we are excited by the challenge and opportunity to be the first Connacht team to win at the RDS. Leinster have started the season extremely well and are sitting top of the table so we understand the difficulty of that challenge.

“Although it has been a short week with the travel back from Italy on Monday, we have mentally prepared very well as we know that a focus on our team roles will give us the best shot at the points on offer.”

The westerners’ list of injured/unavailable players includes Tom McCartney, Denis Buckley, Ronan Loughney, Ivan Soroka, Conan O’Donnell, Saba Meunargia, Ultan Dillane, Ben Marshall, Nepia Fox-Matamua, Eoghan Masterson, John Cooney, Matt Healy, Josh Rowland, Darragh Leader and Ciaran Gaffney.

CONNACHT (v Leinster): Tiernan O’Halloran; Niyi Adeolokun, Peter Robb, Craig Ronaldson, Cian Kelleher; Jack Carty, Kieran Marmion; JP Cooney, Dave Heffernan, Conor Carey, Quinn Roux, Andrew Browne, Sean O’Brien, Jake Heenan, John Muldoon (capt).

Replacements: Shane Delahunt, Dominic Robertson-McCoy, Finlay Bealham, James Cannon, Eoin McKeon, Caolin Blade, Bundee Aki, Stacey Ili.