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Copeland Steps Up For Connacht Debut Against Scarlets

Copeland Steps Up For Connacht Debut Against Scarlets

Robin Copeland will make his Connacht debut in Saturday’s GUINNESS PRO14 encounter with the Scarlets at the Sportsground (kick-off 5.15pm). The number 8’s inclusion is one of six changes to the side that lost 17-10 to Edinburgh.

Ireland International Bundee Aki is also included in the starting XV having come off the bench at BT Murrayfield to make his seasonal bow. Aki is reunited in midfield with Tom Farrell who has recovered from the stomach bug that ruled him out last weekend.

Cian Kelleher is named on the right wing and is part of a back-three that includes Matt Healy on the opposite wing and Tiernan O’Halloran at full-back, with Niyi Adeolokun, the province’s lone try scorer against Edinburgh, providing back-up from the bench.

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Denis Buckley is back in at loosehead prop to make his third start of the season, while Quinn Roux slots into the second row alongside Gavin Thornbury. Paul Boyle makes way for fellow Gorey RFC product, Robin Copeland, at number 8 in an otherwise unchanged back row.

Commenting on Copeland’s impending debut, the westerners’ head coach Andy Friend said: “We have been really impressed with Robin in the pre-season both on and off the field. His energy and maturity have been a big addition to the wider group. He played 40 minutes for the Eagles side last weekend and he came through that okay after a niggly injury, so he is good to go for the Scarlets game.

“The Scarlets are a quality side and we expect a huge challenge from them. They are one of the top teams in this competition, so it is a massive game for us. We have a really healthy competition in our squad at the moment and that is exactly what we need as the big games keep coming.”

Tickets for Connacht v Scarlets are on sale now at connachtrugby.ie/tickets. At half-time the victorious Connacht Under-18 Men’s and Women’s teams will take to the field after their historic recent campaigns. It is the first time in Connacht’s history that Interprovincial titles have been won by both male and female sides in the same year.
CONNACHT (v Scarlets): Tiernan O’Halloran; Cian Kelleher, Tom Farrell, Bundee Aki, Matt Healy; Jack Carty, Kieran Marmion; Denis Buckley, Dave Heffernan, Finlay Bealham, Gavin Thornbury, Quinn Roux, Sean O’Brien, Jarrad Butler, Robin Copeland.

Replacements: Tom McCartney, Peter McCabe, Dominic Robertson-McCoy, Ultan Dillane, Colby Fainga’a, Caolin Blade, Craig Ronaldson, Niyi Adeolokun.