Internationals return for Connacht as Tom Farrell handed full debut

‘We’re very aware of where we are in this competition and what we need to do’

Tom Farrell during Connacht training earlier this week, he gets the nod to start this weekend against the Dragons. Photograph: Inpho

Tom Farrell during Connacht training earlier this week, he gets the nod to start this weekend against the Dragons. Photograph: Inpho

 

Connacht head coach Pat Lam has made five personnel changes to his side to face Newport Gwent Dragons in Saturday night’s Pro12 clash at the Sportsground (7:35pm).

Irish internationals Kieran Marmion, Finlay Bealham and Ultan Dillane all come in to start this week while centre Tom Farrell has been handed his full debut.

The 23-year-old, who joined from Bedford Blues last month and has made two appearances from the bench, partners Craig Ronaldson in midfield tomorrow night at the Sportsground.

Hooker Dave Heffernan, who continues his impressive run of featuring in every game so far this season, earns his seventh start in the number 2 shirt.

From the bench, 23-year-old Steve Crosbie, who also joined the province last month, is in line to make his Connacht debut.

Commenting on the upcoming game, head coach Pat Lam said:

“We’re all really excited to be back playing at home for the first time in five weeks. By all accounts it will be a full house here again tomorrow and that always drives us on.

“We’re very aware of where we are in this competition and what we need to do. Dragons will take confidence from their victory over us in round 8 so it’s really important that we are right on the money with our mental preparation and execution of the game plan.”

CONNACHT: Tiernan O’Halloran; Niyi Adeolokun, Tom Farrell, Craig Ronaldson, Matt Healy; Jack Carty, Kieran Marmion; Denis Buckley, Dave Heffernan, Finlay Bealham; Ultan Dillane, Quinn Roux; Sean O’Brien, Jake Heenan, John Muldoon (captain).

Replacements: Tom McCartney, Ronan Loughney, JP Cooney, James Cannon, Nepia Fox-Matamua, Caolin Blade, Steve Crosbie, Rory Parata.

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