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Boshoff Starts For Connacht, Healy Returns From Injury

Boshoff Starts For Connacht, Healy Returns From Injury

Connacht head coach Pat Lam has made four personnel and two positional changes to his team ahead of Saturday’s GUINNESS PRO12 match against Benetton Treviso at the Sportsground (kick-off 3pm).

Out-half Marnitz Boshoff has been handed his first start in a Connacht jersey having come off the bench in the win over Cardiff Blues a week ago. The South African is partnered at half-back by John Cooney, a try scorer and place-kicker last Friday.

Cian Kelleher shifts from full-back to the right wing to allow Ireland international Tiernan O’Halloran wear the number 15 shirt. With Matt Healy returning from injury to start on the left wing and Craig Ronaldson ruled out, Stacey Ili moves to midfield where he partners Bundee Aki.

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Having made his return from injury last week, Nepia Fox-Matamua is named to start at blindside flanker in the province’s otherwise unchanged pack.

Dominic Robertson-McCoy, Sean O’Brien and Rory Parata are all additions to the matchday squad with Academy graduate Parata in line to make his first appearance of the season.

Commenting on the visit of Treviso, Pat Lam said: “After an important result last week, it’s great to be back at home for another crucial game in the GUINNESS PRO12. We know we are expected to win this game against Treviso tomorrow but we can only do that on the back of solid preparation.

“It’s been a good week together as a squad and we’re excited to get out there to fight for more vital points before attention turns to Champions Cup rugby.”

Ronan Loughney, Ivan Soroka, Conan O’Donnell, Saba Meunargia, Ben Marshall, Andrew Browne, Eoghan Masterson, Eoin Griffin, Shane O’Leary, Craig Ronaldson, Josh Rowland and Darragh Leader are all currently on Connacht’s injury list, while there is a week’s rest for Finlay Bealham, Ultan Dillane, Kieran Marmion and Niyi Adeolokun following Ireland’s November internationals.

CONNACHT (v Benetton Treviso): Tiernan O’Halloran; Cian Kelleher, Bundee Aki, Stacey Ili, Matt Healy; Marnitz Boshoff, John Cooney; Denis Buckley, Tom McCartney, Conor Carey, Quinn Roux, James Cannon, Nepia Fox-Matamua, Jake Heenan, John Muldoon (capt).

Replacements: Dave Heffernan, JP Cooney, Dominic Robertson-McCoy, Sean O’Brien, Eoin McKeon, Caolin Blade, Jack Carty, Rory Parata.