Jump to main content


Healy Returns As One Of Connacht’s Five Changes

Healy Returns As One Of Connacht’s Five Changes

Connacht’s record try scorer Matt Healy has recovered from injury to take his place on the left wing against the Isuzu Southern Kings in Port Elizabeth on Sunday (kick-off 3pm local time/1pm Irish time). 

Connacht have been based in Cape Town for the past week ahead of the GUINNESS PRO14 round 9 game and are on a tour that will include a visit to Bloemfontein to take on the Toyota Cheetahs next weekend.
Matt Healy returns to a back-three that includes Cian Kelleher on the opposite wing and Tiernan O’Halloran at full back. With Bundee Aki unavailable through his involvement in the November internationals, Kyle Godwin and Tom Farrell are retained midfield while Jack Carty and Caolin Blade come in at half-back, completing the four back-line changes from the 33-12 bonus point victory over the Dragons.

Hooker Shane Delahunt combines with Denis Buckley and Conor Carey in the front row and Ultan Dillane and James Cannon, a try scorer against the Dragons last time out, resume in the second row, with Gavin Thornbury back from injury to take a bench spot.

Google Ad Manager – 300×250 – In Article

An unchanged back row includes the in-form Sean O’Brien and Colby Fainga’a at blindside and openside respectively, while captain Jarrad Butler, who is aiming to lead the province to their first win on South African soil, starts again at number 8.
Looking forward to the clash with the Kings, Connacht head coach Andy Friend said: “The squad have travelled well. We left Dublin on Sunday morning and have been based out of Cape Town all week. The facilities have been top class and so too has the attitude of the players so that has allowed us to get a lot of work done.

“We have a squad of 25 in South Africa for the two weeks so that gives us some flexibility for the two games. Matt Healy has returned after missing a couple of games and he is fully fit and ready to start on the wing.

“The other good news on the injury front is the return of Gavin Thornbury who had a more long-term injury but is back now and reading to go also. We will start Gavin on the bench but no doubt he will feature during the 80 minutes.

“The Kings have been really impressive this season especially when they are at home in Port Elizabeth. They put 31 points on Leinster and 34 points on the Scarlets and were unlucky to lose both games. They put 38 points on Glasgow and won that game so their form against three of the top teams in the PRO14 has been really impressive and we know how dangerous they can be. If they get space out wide, they will punish any team and we will need a big performance to overcome them.”
CONNACHT (v Isuzu Southern Kings): Tiernan O’Halloran; Cian Kelleher, Kyle Godwin, Tom Farrell, Matt Healy; Jack Carty, Caolin Blade; Denis Buckley, Shane Delahunt, Conor Carey, Ultan Dillane, James Cannon, Sean O’Brien, Colby Fainga’a, Jarrad Butler (capt).

Replacements: Tom McCartney, Peter McCabe, Dominic Robertson McCoy, Gavin Thornbury, Paul Boyle, James Mitchell, David Horwitz, Darragh Leader.