Grace to lead Eagles in Newport
Rugby:Former Shannon and Munster academy flanker Eoghan Grace will lead the Connacht Eagles against Newport tomorrow at Rodney Parade in their first British & Irish Cup match.
Eagles’ coach Nigel Carolan has announced a young side that includes several excellent prospects. Shane Layden and Conor Finn are underage internationals while Lansdowne’s prolific wing Matt Healy is given an opportunity.
Jonathan Gardiner, a 20 year old, Welsh born, Irish qualified prospect, joined the Connacht academy during the summer and he gets a chance at number eight.
Meanwhile Roger Wilson will make his return from injury tomorrow as Ulster Ravens kick off their British & Irish Cup campaign against Bridgend at Deramore Park (2.30).
The team will be looking to improve on last year’s performance, when they were eliminated at the semi final stage by a strong Munster A side. Head coach Allen Clarke has named a strong line up with Neil McComb leading the team from the second row.
Wilson will line out in his familiar number eight position while Conor Joyce and Ali Birch have been named at blindside and openside flanker respectively. Belfast Harlequins duo Richard Lutton and Niall Annett, will be joined in the front row by Conor Carey.
Connacht Eagles:S Leyden; J Loxton, C Finn, T Leader, M Healy; J carty, M Walsh; B Wilkinson, J Harris-Wright, JP Cooney; M Kearney, D Qualter; D Heffernan, E Grace (Capt), J Gardiner. Replacements: K O’Byrne, P Reilly, U Dillane, A Conneely, M Dolan, D Leader, S Macauley.
Newport:J Leadbeater; A Hewitt, G O'Driscoll, W Richards, T Chavhanga; T Hancock, R Downes; N Williams, A Brown, T Ryan; R Jones, A Frampton; S Waldron, C Attwell (capt), R Coombs. Replacements: J Jeune, D Mathews, D Rosser, B Lampitt, A Awcock, E Frewen, A Quick.Ulster Ravens:P Nelson; A D’Arcy, R Andrew, S Olding, C Cochrane; N O’Connor, B McIlroy; R Lutton, N Annett, C Carey; A O’Connor, N McComb (capt); C Joyce, A Birch, R Wilson. Replacements: J Burns, K McCall, J Simpson, S O’Connell, M Heaney, S McCloskey, R Scholes.