Kieran Marmion reaches half century
Connacht hoping to win their third successive match when facing Benetton Treviso at the Sportsground tomorrow
Connacht’s Kieran Marmion puts into the scrum. Photograph: Francesca Soli/Inpho
Ireland squad member Robbie Henshaw lines out at fullback for Connacht for their RaboDirect Pro12 league game with Benetton Treviso at the Sportsground tomorrow (5.30).
Scrumhalf Kieran Marmion will win his 50th cap, having played in every Connacht game since his debut at the beginning of the 2012/13 season and starting in all but two of those games.
Up front, Aly Muldowney replaces Michael Swift for his fourth start of the season. The 6 foot 5 inch lock will partner Mick Kearney in the second row. Galway-born Eoin McKeon makes a welcome return from injury to start at number eight in a back row with Academy forward Eoghan Masterson and captain John Muldoon.
Veteran prop Nathan White is named on the bench, while Connacht centurion Frank Murphy gets the nod at replacement scrum half.
Connacht coach Pat Lam said: “With another six-day turnaround this week it’s important to have fresh legs available in Robbie (Henshaw) and players like Eoin (McKeon) coming back from injury.
“Denis (Buckley) and Rodney (Ah You) both put in man-of-the-match performances in the last three games and they deservedly retain their starting spots this week. But it’s great to be able to call on the experience of Nathan (White) from the bench.
“Aly (Muldowney) has been training and playing very well these last few weeks and he deserves his chance to start against Treviso tomorrow.
“It’s also such a great achievement for young Kieran (Marmion) to have reached the 50 cap milestone. The fact that he has played 50 consecutive games since his senior debut is testament to his ability, his durability and his sheer toughness.
“This week, coming up against Treviso, has been all about focus. Coming off the back of two wins, we understand what we need to do ourselves to make it three-in-a-row.
“Against Ulster last week and also when we played them in October, Treviso showed what they’re made of and the type of challenge they present. “
Connacht: R Henshaw; T O’Halloran, E Griffin, D McSharry, F Carr; D Parks, K Marmion; D Buckley, J Harris-Wright, R Ah You; A Muldowney, M Kearney; J Muldoon (capt), E Masterson, E McKeon. Replacements: D Heffernan, F Bealham, N White, M Swift, A Browne, F Murphy, M Nikora, D Poolman.