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Leader To Make Long-Awaited Return For Connacht

Leader To Make Long-Awaited Return For Connacht

Ahead of Connacht’s final GUINNESS PRO12 home game this season, head coach Pat Lam has made ten changes to the team to face the Scarlets at the Sportsground on Saturday night (kick-off 7.35pm).

Darragh Leader, who this week signed a new deal with his home province, will start on the right wing for his first game in 18 months having returned from long-term injury. On the other wing, Cian Kelleher also returns following a lengthy absence this season with injury.

Tom Farrell and Eoin Griffin make up a new centre partnership, while Marnitz Boshoff is handed the reins at out-half with Caolin Blade starting alongside him in the number 9 jersey.

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Up front, Ireland international Finlay Bealham shifts to loosehead prop to allow Dominic Robertson-McCoy pack down at tighthead. James Cannon forms a second row partnership with Andrew Browne who will captain the westerners this weekend. Sean O’Brien and Eoghan Masterson are promoted to the back row where they join Jake Heenan.

Commenting on the penultimate round clash with the Scarlets, Pat Lam said: “With the Champions Cup being our main focus, the next two games present a great opportunity to prepare for the qualification play-offs in May.

“It allows us to give guys coming back from long-term injuries a chance to perform against a quality Scarlets side. Tomorrow night is our last PRO12 game at home and as always, we will be looking to put in a huge effort for us and our supporters who have been fantastic all season.”

CONNACHT (v Scarlets): Tiernan O’Halloran; Darragh Leader, Tom Farrell, Eoin Griffin, Cian Kelleher; Marnitz Boshoff, Caolin Blade; Finlay Bealham, Dave Heffernan, Dominic Robertson-McCoy, James Cannon, Andrew Browne (capt), Sean O’Brien, Jake Heenan, Eoghan Masterson.

Replacements: Shane Delahunt, Denis Buckley, JP Cooney, Quinn Roux, John Muldoon, John Cooney, Craig Ronaldson, Danie Poolman.