Connacht vs Glasgow: Tiernan O’Halloran makes 200th Connacht appearance

Eighth placed Connacht welcome Glasgow and former attack coach Nigel Carolan

 

URC: Connacht v Glasgow Warriors, The Sportsground, Saturday January 29th (2.55pm, live on Premier Sports)

Connacht’s Tiernan O’Halloran will hope to celebrate his 200th cap with a United Rugby Championship win over visitors Glasgow Warriors at the Sportsground today.

The Clifden native becomes only the fourth Connacht player to reach that milestone, following John Muldoon, Michael Swift and Denis Buckley, who returns from his long-term injury to take a place on the bench.

Thirty-one-year-old O’Halloran, having scored a try on his senior debut against Olympus Madrid in the 2009/10 Challenge Cup, has scored 42 tries, four conversions, and a winning drop goal against Cardiff in 2017.

Connacht coach Andy Friend says it is a testament to O’Halloran’s loyalty to Connacht, “his dedication to the game, and his ability as a footballer”.

“The fact that he’s reached the milestone for his home province, having come through the ranks at Connemara RFC and Garbally College, only adds to the achievement.”

Connacht, currently eighth on the URC table, must make home advantage count against Glasgow for whom it is a first return for Galwegian Nigel Carolan since leaving his role as Connacht’s attack coach. The Scottish outfit, currently in fourth spot on 26 points with five wins from eight, travel with eight internationals in their starting XV.

Friend has made eight changes to his starting line-up from last weekend’s European loss to Stade Francais. Diarmuid Killgallen make only his second appearance in the URC, taking over from Mack Hansen on the left wing, Kieran Marmion returns to partner outhalf Cathal Forde, who is making his first start in the absence of Jack Carty and Conor Fitzgerald (Ireland camp and illness respectively). Up front only props Jordan Duggan and Greg McGrath, and Jarrad Butler, who captains the side, started in Paris, while Dave Heffernan, Ultan Dlllane, Leva Fifita, Eoghan Masterson and Paul Boyle all come into the side.

Connacht: T O’Halloran; A Wootton, T Farrell, S Arnold, D Kilgallen; C Forde, K Marmion; J Duggan, D Heffernan, G McGrath; U Dillane, L Fifita; E Masterson, J Butler (C), P Boyle.

Replacements: S Delahunt, D Buckley, T Tuimauga, O Dowling, S Masterson, C Reilly, S Bolton, O McNulty

Glasgow Warriors: O Smith; S Cancelliere, K Steyn, S Tuipulotu, R McLean; D Weir, G Horne; O Kebble, F Brown (C), E Pieretto; K McDonald, R Gray; R Wilson (C), T Gordon, J Dempsey.

Replacements: J Matthews, J Bhatti, S Berghan, L Bean, A Miller, J Dobie, R Thompson, S McDowall.

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