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Connacht Make Five Changes For Rearranged Zebre Match

Connacht Make Five Changes For Rearranged Zebre Match

Connacht head coach Pat Lam has made five personnel changes to his starting XV for Saturday’s rearranged GUINNESS PRO12 match against Zebre in Parma (kick-off 3.30pm local time/2.30pm Irish time).

With Ireland internationals Tiernan O’Halloran and Kieran Marmion on a scheduled rest week, there are four enforced changes to the back-line as Connacht look to make it four wins out of five in the PRO12.

Ireland Sevens player Josh Rowland comes in for his first Connacht senior start at full-back, having made his debut off the bench against Glasgow Warriors last weekend. John Cooney starts at scrum-half, while Danie Poolman comes in on the right wing.

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There is a new midfield partnership as former Lansdowne back Tom Farrell starts at outside centre with Bundee Aki shifting to number 12 for the trip to Italy.

Up front, there is just one change with Eoin McKeon replacing Jake Heenan, who struggled to shake off a minor shin injury picked up in the last round.

Ivan Soroka, Eoghan Masterson, Caolin Blade and Eoin Griffin are all additions to the bench with the fit-again Griffin in line to make his first appearance since last September. Ronan Loughney, Niyi Adeolokun and JP Cooney all picked up minor injuries in training this week which ruled them out of selection, while Naulia Dawai did not travel as he awaits a visa renewal.

Commenting on Saturday’s game at Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi, Pat Lam said: “We have had to make a few changes this week due to unfortunate niggles picked up in training. But we’re going over to Parma with a clear game-plan. We are fully focused on putting in a performance against Zebre that will get us the points on offer.”

CONNACHT (v Zebre): Josh Rowland; Danie Poolman, Tom Farrell, Bundee Aki, Stacey Ili; Jack Carty, John Cooney; Denis Buckley, Tom McCartney, Finlay Bealham, Quinn Roux, Andrew Browne, Sean O’Brien, Eoin McKeon, John Muldoon (capt).

Replacements: Dave Heffernan, Ivan Soroka, Dominic Robertson-McCoy, James Cannon, Eoghan Masterson, Caolin Blade, Craig Ronaldson, Eoin Griffin.