Ben O’Donnell returns to Connacht XV to host the Dragons

Matthew Burke and Paul Boyle have also been brought into Andy Friend’s team

Ben O’Donnell starts on the wing for Connacht against the Dragons at The Sportsground on Saturday. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Ben O’Donnell starts on the wing for Connacht against the Dragons at The Sportsground on Saturday. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

 

Matthew Burke, Paul Boyle and Ben O’Donnell have been drafted into the starting XV for Saturday’s URC meeting with the Dragons at The Sportsground (kick-off 5.15pm, live on TG4 and Premier Sports) following on from the 34-7 win over the Bulls last weekend which welcomed supporters back to their home ground.

It’s a first appearance of the season for O’Donnell, who joins winger Mack Hansen and fullback Tiernan O’Halloran in the back three. The remainder of the backline is unchanged for the third straight game, with Kieran Marmion and Jack Carty at halfback and Tom Daly and Tom Farrell in midfield.

Ballinrobe man Matthew Burke comes into the frontrow with Dave Heffernan and Finlay Bealham, while locks Oisin Dowling and Ultan Dillane also start together for the third week in a row.

The side is completed by flankers Cian Prendergast and captain Jarrad Butler, with Boyle wearing the number 8 shirt.

“Last week was very pleasing not just because of the result, but the performance gave everyone the confidence that we’re heading in the right direction,” said head coach Andy Friend. “We know more than anyone that we now need to replicate that level consistently. Dragons are a tough team to play against and showed that against Leinster last week, so we’ll need to be at the top of our game.”

CONNACHT: Tiernan O’Halloran; Ben O’Donnell, Tom Farrell, Tom Daly, Mack Hansen; Jack Carty, Kieran Marmion; Matthew Burke, Dave Heffernan, Finlay Bealham; Oisin Dowling, Ultan Dillane; Cian Prendergast, Jarrad Butler (capt), Paul Boyle.

Replacements: Shane Delahunt, Jordan Duggan, Jack Aungier, Leva Fifita, Conor Oliver, Caolin Blade, Conor Fitzgerald, Sammy Arnold.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.