Connacht Rugby Connacht Eagles

Connacht Rugby rest Buckley and Carty for visit of Zebre

Connacht Rugby Connacht Eagles

The Connacht Rugby team to face Zebre at the Sportsground tomorrow night (7:35pm) has been named. The starting XV features just three players that started in Italy in the last round four days ago – Danie Poolman Niyi Adeolokun and Bundee Aki.

Poolman, who started on the wing against Treviso on Sunday shifts to fullback for tomorrow’s fixture.

24-year-old outhalf Steve Crosbie will make his Connacht debut in place of Kiltoom’s Jack Carty, who is rested. Crosbie starts in a new half-back partnership with John Cooney. Tom Farrell and Stacey Ili come in to complete the youthful back line.

There are wholesale changes to the pack and Tom McCartney is handed the captaincy while John Muldoon, who has started all but one game this season, takes a place on the bench. Ronan Loughney and Dominic Robertson-McCoy pack down in the front row with Lewis Stevenson and Andrew Browne – who returns for the first time this year – making up the second-row partnership. Denis Buckley is listed on the bench and may see action for the final 20 minutes of the game.

After 12 months away from the game to overcome a serious knee injury, Eoghan Masterson makes his return to professional rugby tomorrow night. The 23-year-old, who has played with the Connacht Eagles and AIL-side Galwegians RFC in recent weeks, starts at number 8 in an all-new back row with Eoin McKeon and Naulia Dawai.

Commenting on the team selection and the upcoming game, Connacht Rugby Head Coach Pat Lam said:

“With a five-day turnaround on the back of our trip to Italy, we had always planned to make changes to the side. This will be a great opportunity for others in the squad to show what they can do.

“I’m delighted to see Eoghan (Masterson) and Andrew (Browne) make their return to match action at home tomorrow night. The team are buzzing for them and we’re really looking forward to being back at the Sportsground.

“Having faced Zebre three times already this season, we know that we can expect a tough, physical challenge. It’s vital that we give them the respect they deserve through our preparation and execution of our own game plan.”

The Connacht Rugby team in full, to face Zebre, is as follows:

(Connacht caps in brackets)

15 Danie Poolman (80)
14 Niyi Adeolokun (52)
13 Bundee Aki (54)
12 Tom Farrell (4)
11 Stacey Ili (10)
10 Steve Crosbie (0)
9 John Cooney (34)

1 Ronan Loughney (191)
2 Tom McCartney (58) (captain)
3 Dominic Robertson-McCoy (4)
4 Lewis Stevenson (11)
5 Andrew Browne (148)
6 Eoin McKeon (101)
7 Naulia Dawai (7)
8 Eoghan Masterson (34)

16 Dave Heffernan (78)
17 Denis Buckley (111)
18 Finlay Bealham (75)
19 Quinn Roux (50)
20 John Muldoon (295)
21 Kieran Marmion (115)
22 Craig Ronaldson (61)
23 Tiernan O’Halloran (121).

Kick-off at the Sportsground, is 7.35pm and the game is live on TG4.