A squad of 30 players arrived in France yesterday afternoon ahead of Connacht’s opening pre-season match against Oyonnax at Stade Charles-Mathon on Friday night (kick-off 8.30pm local time/7.30pm Irish time).
The game is Connacht’s first time back on the pitch since May’s GUINNESS PRO14 quarter-final loss to Ulster, as they step up preparations for the start of the new PRO14 campaign against the Scarlets on Saturday, September 28.
New signings John Porch and Rory Burke are included in the travelling party, as are Academy players Sean O’Brien and Sean Masterson. The westerners have a further friendly against Munster at the Sportsground the week before their Championship opener.
Speaking after the squad’s arrival, Connacht head coach Andy Friend said: “This game is our first opportunity to put into action what we’ve been working on since the start of pre-season training at the beginning of July. I’ve been very impressed with the squad in that time and I’m excited to see what the players can offer.
“We have brought over a squad of 30 players and it is our intention to give every player a run-out and an opportunity to impress. Oyonnax are a good side so this is the ideal game for us as we get closer to the new season.”
CONNACHT Squad (v Oyonnax) – Backs (13): Niyi Adeolokun, Caolin Blade, Tom Daly, Conor Fitzgerald, Kyle Godwin, Matt Healy, David Horwitz, Darragh Leader, Angus Lloyd, Sean O’Brien (Academy), Tiernan O’Halloran, John Porch, Peter Robb.
Forwards (17): Finlay Bealham, Paul Boyle, Denis Buckley, Matthew Burke, Rory Burke, Jarrad Butler, Robin Copeland, Colby Fainga’a, Cillian Gallagher, Dave Heffernan, Tom McCartney, Ultan Dillane, Joe Maksymiw, Eoghan Masterson, Sean Masterson (Academy), Dominic Robertson-McCoy, Gavin Thornbury.