Ireland international scrum half Kieran Marmion has returned to the Connacht side to face the Ospreys at the Brewery Field, Bridgend on Friday (Kick off 8:05pm).
His return sees him renew his half back partnership with Jack Carty who is back in the starting team after being rested for the trip to Sale last weekend.
Bundee Aki also returns to the midfield alongside Tom Farrell. They are part of a back line that includes Tiernan O’Halloran at full back and Niyi Adeolokun and Cian Kelleher on the wings.
In the forwards, Finlay Bealham who was named in the Ireland squad yesterday, starts at tight head. He is joined in the front row by loosehead Denis Buckley and hooker Tom McCartney. Behind them in the scrum will be Quinn Roux and Ultan Dillane.
Sean O’Brien returns from injury and is named in the back row with Captain Jarrad Butler at openside and 21 year old Paul Boyle at number 8.
Announcing his team, Connacht Head Coach Andy Friend spoke of the importance of Marmion’s return; “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 rearing 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.”, Friend said.
“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 Bridgeend, 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”, he added.
(15-9) Tiernan O’Halloran, Niyi Adeolokun, Tom Farrell, Bundee Aki, Cian Kelleher, Jack Carty, Kieran Marmion, (1-8) Denis Buckley, Tom McCartney, Finlay Bealham, Ultan Dillane, Quinn Roux, Sean O’Brien, Jarrad Butler (Capt), Paul Boyle.
Replacements (16-23): Shane Delahunt, Conan O’Donnell, Conor Carey, James Cannon, Colby Fainga’a, Caolin Blade, Conor Fitzgerald, Kyle Godwin.