Roscommon’s Denis Buckley along with Tom McCartney and John Cooney have returned from injury to take their place in the Connacht Rugby team for round 9 of the Guinness PRO12 against Cardiff Blues.
Buckley runs out at the Sportsground tomorrow night for his 100th Connacht Rugby appearance and his first game in two months, packing down with the returning McCartney and tighthead Conor Carey.
Picture Credit ©INPHO/Donall Farmer
James Cannon makes his first Connacht and PRO12 start alongside Irish international Quinn Roux in the second row. The back row, with captain John Muldoon at number 8, remains unchanged from the last round with flankers Eoin McKeon and Jake Heenan starting.
Less than two weeks after making his Ireland debut against Canada, wing Niyi Adeolokun starts at the Sportsground tomorrow night in a pacey back three with Cian Kelleher and Stacey Ili.
Craig Ronaldson partners Bundee Aki in midfield while October Player of the Month and outhalf Jack Carty is joined by Cooney, on his season debut.
The most notable inclusion among the replacements is Marnitz Boshoff. The South African is in line to make his Connacht debut having arrived in Ireland last month following his commitments in the Currie Cup competition.
Ronan Loughney and Nepia Fox-Matamua also return from injury to take their place in the match day squad.
Commenting on the team selection and the upcoming game, Connacht Rugby head coach Pat Lam said:
“The break in games has been extremely beneficial as we have been able to get some players back from injury and work on improving our game. We really enjoy playing Cardiff as they are always a tough challenge. Our games always go right down to the wire. We will have to be on our game as their away form is very good this season. We know we have to improve on our last outing to get the points on offer so being back at the Sportsground after a long break is a major boost. The atmosphere will once again be electric as its all set to be a full house, which is fantastic on an international weekend.”
The Connacht Rugby team in full to face Cardiff Blues is
(Connacht caps in brackets)
15 Cian Kelleher (8)
14 Niyi Adeolokun (41)
13 Bundee Aki (49)
12 Craig Ronaldson (55)
11 Stacey Ili (5)
10 Jack Carty (63)
9 John Cooney (26)
1 Denis Buckley (99)
2 Tom McCartney (47)
3 Conor Carey (6)
4 Quinn Roux (38)
5 James Cannon (2)
6 Eoin McKeon (94)
7 Jake Heenan (41)
8 John Muldoon (captain) (284)
16 Dave Heffernan (66)
17 Ronan Loughney (189)
18 JP Cooney (36)
19 Lewis Stevenson (6)
20 Nepia Fox-Matamua (9)
21 Caolin Blade (29)
22 Marnitz Boshoff (0)
23 Danie Poolman (73)
Kick off tomorrow in the Sportsground (Friday 25th November) is at 7:35pm and the game is live on TG4.