Connacht Rugby Head Coach Pat Lam has named his first competitive XV of the new Guinness PRO12 season as his side prepares to host Glasgow Warriors at the Sportsground tomorrow afternoon (kick off 5.15pm – live on Sky Sports).
New signing Cian Kelleher will make his competitive debut lining out at fullback against the Scottish side. The 22-year-old is named in a back three with Niyi Adeolokun and Irish international Matt Healy.
Eoin Griffin has been handed the number 13 shirt for his return to the Sportsground after two seasons with London Irish. The 25-year-old from Galway will partner last season’s PRO12 Players’ Player Bundee Aki in midfield.
In the pack, Denis Buckley makes a welcome return to the front row after his lengthy lay off recovering from an ankle injury. Internationals Finlay Bealham and Ultan Dillane are also named and Nepia Fox-Matamua returns to start in the back row with Eoin McKeon and captain John Muldoon.
From the bench, Lewis Stevenson is in line to make his full Connacht debut and Kieran Marmion comes in as the replacement scrum half.
Commenting on the team selection and the upcoming game, head coach Pat Lam said:
“What an exciting game to kick off a new season at home where we have two teams who really like to express themselves. Games against Glasgow are always tough and uncompromising and with their impressive selection of international players, we expect that to be no different tomorrow.
“It’s a new season and a somewhat new-look side with just eight who started at Murrayfield in May lining out tomorrow. Today is the last time all 12 teams will be level on points. With five points on offer now our focus is on the process which will give us the best chance of winning.
“Starting the championship at home is a huge boost and we’re looking forward to experiencing the magical atmosphere here at the Sportsground once again come 5:15.”
Connacht team to face Glasgow Warriors, Saturday 3rd September, the Sportsground, 5:15pm
15 Cian Kelleher
14 Niyi Adeolokun
13 Eoin Griffin
12 Bundee Aki
11 Matt Healy
10 Jack Carty
9 Caolin Blade
1 Denis Buckley
2 Tom McCartney
3 Finlay Bealham
4 Ultan Dillane
5 Danny Qualter
6 Eoin McKeon
7 Nepia Fox-Matamua
8 John Muldoon (captain)
16 Dave Heffernan
17 Ronan Loughney
18 JP Cooney
19 Lewis Stevenson
20 James Connolly
21 Kieran Marmion
22 Shane O’Leary
23 Peter Robb
Injured/Unavailable: Nathan White, Conor Carey, Quinn Roux, Andrew Browne, Ben Marshall, Jake Heenan, Sean O’Brien, Eoghan Masterson, John Cooney, Craig Ronaldson, Marnitz Boshoff, Darragh Leader
CONNACHT RUGBY v GLASGOW WARRIORS
Saturday May 21st
At the Sportsground, 5:15pm
Live on Sky Sports 1
Referee: Ian Davies (WRU, 49th competition game)
Assistant Referees: Sean Brickell (WRU), Eddie Hagan-O’Connell (IRFU)
Citing Commissioner: Peter Ferguson (IRFU)
TMO: Jon Mason (WRU)