Nel names starting XV to face Newport


Steph Nel has named his starting XV as Connacht attempt to maintain their 100 per cent Celtic League record against Newport on Friday evening (5.30pm).

The inclusion of full-back Mark McHugh in the Ireland squad to play Russia on Saturday has afforded 21-year-old James Norton an opportunity to win his debut. Norton has represented Ireland at underage and Student level and will be keen to make an impression on his first senior outing for the Westerners at the Sportsground.

The only other change to the side which defeated Leinster last Friday is at wing-forward where Colm Rigney wins the openside spot ahead of Paul Neville.

Meanhile, Nel is able to include both Johnny O'Connor and Marnus Uijs on the replacements bench after their return to fitness.

Elsewhere, Alan Solomons has named his Ulster team as they aim to get back to winning ways following their surprise defeat at the hands of Swansea at the weekend.

Neath are next up for Solomons' side and the South African has plenty to think about ahead of the Ravenhill clash with a host of first choices ruled out through injury, notably at out-half where Adam Larkin will deputise in the absence of the injured Paddy Wallace.

There is also a question mark hanging over the fitness of skipper Johnny Bell but he has been named in the starting line-up and will be given until the end of the week to recover from an ankle problem.

Connacht(v Newport): J Norton; T Robinson, D Yapp, T Allnutt (capt.), W Munn; E Elwood, C Keane; D McFarland, J Flannery, P Bracken; W Waugh, R Frost; M Swift, J O'Sullivan, C Rigney.

Replacements: R McCormack, M Uijs, E Peters, J O'Connor, E Reddan, S Moore, M McPhail.

Ulster(v Neath): B Cunningham; J Topping, R Constable, J Bell (Capt), T Howe; A Larkin, Neil Doak: Jn Fitzpatrick, M Sexton, R Kempson, M Blair, J Davidson, W Brosnihan, N McMillan, T McWhirter.

Replacements: S Best, P Shields, P Johns, N Best, K Campbell, S Stewart, St Young.