Connacht’s new head coach Kieran Keane has announced his team to play on Wasps in tonight’s pre-season match at the Ricoh Arena (kick-off 7.30pm).
The province’s starting XV includes the newly-arrived Rory Scholes and James Mitchell in the backs and Peter McCabe and Jarrad Butler up front. Another of their summer signings, Gavin Thornbury, features on the bench along with Conor McKeon and Cormac Brennan, who have both stepped up from the Academy.
With a three-day turnaround to the Connacht’s second and final pre-season fixture against Bristol at the Sportsground on Saturday (kick-off 3pm), a total of 14 players have been named among the replacements.
All players are expected to get some game-time over the two games, as the final preparations are made ahead of round 1 of the new GUINNESS PRO14 Championship at home to Glasgow Warriors on Saturday, September 2 – tickets are on sale here.
Speaking ahead of this evening’s game in Coventry, New Zealander Kieran Keane said: “I have a large squad of players available to me for the two pre-season games and I will be making sure that guys get as much game-time under their belts as possible.
“The pre-season has been going well but we are really focusing on our opening PRO14 game against Glasgow on September 2. I am expecting a big atmosphere for that one and we will be hoping to get off to a good start.
“With the Southern Kings travelling up from South Africa a week later, I will need a strong squad available to me. The purpose of the two games in the next four days is to start testing the depth of our squad.”
CONNACHT (v Wasps): Darragh Leader; Rory Scholes, Eoin Griffin, Craig Ronaldson, Matt Healy; Jack Carty, James Mitchell; Peter McCabe, Tom McCartney, Conor Carey, James Cannon, Andrew Browne, Eoghan Masterson, Jarrad Butler, John Muldoon (capt).
Replacements: Conan O’Donnell, Shane Delahunt, Dominic Robertson-McCoy, Peter Claffey, Gavin Thornbury, Eoin McKeon, James Connolly, Sean O’Brien, Conor McKeon, Steve Crosbie, Matthew Byrne, Stacey Ili, Cormac Brennan, Cian Kelleher.