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Ireland Quartet Return For Connacht’s Crunch Clash With Ospreys

Ireland Quartet Return For Connacht’s Crunch Clash With Ospreys

Ultan Dillane and Quinn Roux are back in GUINNESS PRO14 tomorrow, less than a week on from starting for Ireland against Italy in Rome ©INPHO/James Crombie

Connacht have been boosted by the return of Ultan Dillane, Quinn Roux, Tom Farrell and Caolin Blade from Ireland duty for Saturday’s GUINNESS PRO14 showdown with the Ospreys at the Sportsground (kick-off 2.45pm).

Dillane and Roux, who were Ireland’s starting locks against Italy last Sunday afternoon, resume in the Connacht engine room, rejoining a tight five which includes Denis Buckley, Shane Delahunt and fellow international Finlay Bealham in the front row.

The back row remains unchanged from the 43-17 loss to Glasgow Warriors, with flankers Eoin McKeon and Colby Fainga’a supporting number 8 and captain Jarrad Butler. Kieran Marmion starts his second successive game since returning from ankle surgery, forming a new-look half-back partnership with Australian Kyle Godwin.

The fit-again Peter Robb gets his first start of the campaign after impressing off the bench in Scotstoun. He combines with returning Farrell in midfield, while an unchanged back-three is comprised of Tiernan O’Halloran at full-back and wingers Matt Healy and Stephen Fitzgerald, who opened his try account for the province against Glasgow.

With fourth-placed Connacht sitting just three points ahead of the Ospreys in Conference A, head coach Andy Friend knows how important a home win could prove to be against the Welshmen. “We have trained well and prepared well this week,” he said. “We’ve seen a really positive response from the players after a disappointing result last weekend in Glasgow.

“We will continue to focus on our game and what we can control, as we have done all season. We know every game now is a ‘must win’ and with a two week-break before our next game we are determined to finish this block on a high. The four players back from international duty bring a huge amount of experience to our matchday squad.”

CONNACHT (v Ospreys): Tiernan O’Halloran; Stephen Fitzgerald, Tom Farrell, Peter Robb, Matt Healy; Kyle Godwin, Kieran Marmion; Denis Buckley, Shane Delahunt, Finlay Bealham, Quinn Roux, Ultan Dillane, Eoin McKeon, Colby Fainga’a, Jarrad Butler (capt).

Replacements: Tom McCartney, Peter McCabe, Conor Carey, James Cannon, Paul Boyle, Caolin Blade, Tom Daly, Cian Kelleher.