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Marmion’s Return Boosts Connacht For Bridgend Trip

Marmion’s Return Boosts Connacht For Bridgend Trip

Ireland scrum half Kieran Marmion has returned to the Connacht team to face the Ospreys at the Morganstone Brewery Field in Bridgend on Friday night (kick-off 8.05pm).

Kieran Marmion’s return sees him renew his half-back partnership with Jack Carty who is back in the starting XV after being rested for the trip to Sale Sharks. Bundee Aki also returns in midfield alongside Tom Farrell, while Tiernan O’Halloran is joined by Niyi Adeolokun and Cian Kelleher in the back-three.

Up front, Finlay Bealham, who was named in the Ireland squad yesterday, starts at tighthead prop alongside Tom McCartney and Denis Buckley, and Quinn Roux resumes as Ultan Dillane’s partner in an all-international second row pairing.

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The fit-again Sean O’Brien and captain Jarrad Butler, who was rested for the second round of the European Challenge Cup, return in the loose forwards where 21-year-old talent Paul Boyle switches to the number 8 position.

Commenting on the importance of scrum half Marmion’s return, head coach Andy Friend said: “We have a few of our more experienced players coming back into the side which is a big boost to the squad. Caolin Blade has done really well for us over the past few games, but it is great to have Kieran back as well.

“He is a really important player for us and he is fit and raring to go. We also have Bundee back in our midfield alongside Tom Farrell. So overall, we are strengthened by our returning players for what we expect to be a tough fixture.

“The Ospreys are going really well in our conference with four wins from their opening six games. The fact that they are hosting the game in Bridgend means that it will be a really unique fixture. A few of our squad have played there before so some guys will be familiar with the ground. It will be a great atmosphere and we are really looking forward to the challenge.”

CONNACHT (v Ospreys): Tiernan O’Halloran; Niyi Adeolokun, Tom Farrell, Bundee Aki, Cian Kelleher; Jack Carty, Kieran Marmion; Denis Buckley, Tom McCartney, Finlay Bealham, Ultan Dillane, Quinn Roux, Sean O’Brien, Jarrad Butler (capt), Paul Boyle.

Replacements: Shane Delahunt, Conan O’Donnell, Conor Carey, James Cannon, Colby Fainga’a, Caolin Blade, Conor Fitzgerald, Kyle Godwin.