Denis Buckley Connacht Rugby

Buckley and Carty start for Connacht Rugby

Denis Buckley Connacht Rugby

Once again two Roscommon men feature in the Connacht Rugby team to face Zebre in the first away game of the season.

Head coach Pat Lam has made six personnel changes to the side that lined out against Ospreys at the Sportsground last weekend.
Picture Credit: ©INPHO/Donall Farmer

Up front, Denis Buckley returns from injury at loose headprop while JP Cooney starts at tighthead in the absence of Finlay Bealham through illness this week. There is a new second row partnership of Lewis Stevenson and Andrew Browne with Roscommon’s Danny Qualter being rested.

Bundee Aki and Eoin Griffin swap positions in midfield while 22-year-old Cian Kelleher starts on the wing after making his Connacht debut at fullback in round 1. Caolin Blade is also reintroduced at scrum half.

Irish internationals Ultan Dillane, Kieran Marmion and Matt Healy are all included among the replacements while prop Conor Carey is in line to make his Connacht debut in Italy tomorrow afternoon.

Commenting on the game, Pat Lam said:

“Zebre are a team we know well having played them 12 times in the past four seasons. Our good record against them is due the respect we give them in our preparation and this week has been no different. With this being their first game home game of the season, we understand the tough challenge ahead of us on Saturday. Despite the injuries and changes in personnel, our focus has been on continued improvement throughout our game and our roles. We’re looking forward to taking another step up in our performance tomorrow.”

The Connacht Rugby Squad in full is:

15 Tiernan O’Halloran
14 Niyi Adeolokun
13 Bundee Aki
12 Eoin Griffin
11 Cian Kelleher
10 Jack Carty
9 Caolin Blade

1 Denis Buckley
2 Tom McCartney
3 JP Cooney
4 Lewis Stevenson
5 Andrew Browne
6 Eoin McKeon
7 James Connolly
8 John Muldoon (Captain)

16 Dave Heffernan
17 Ronan Loughney
18 Conor Carey
19 Ultan Dillane
20 Rory Moloney
21 Kieran Marmion
22 Shane O’Leary
23 Matt Healy

Kick-off at Stadio Lanfranchi is at 5:05pm (Irish time). The game is not being televised.