Craig Ronaldson and John Cooney come in for Connacht

Lewis Stevenson also comes in to start in the second row for their meeting with Zebre

Craig Ronaldson, Steve Crosbie and Niyi Adeolokun during Connacht training ahead of their Champions Cup clash with Zebre. Photo: James Crombie/Inpho

Craig Ronaldson, Steve Crosbie and Niyi Adeolokun during Connacht training ahead of their Champions Cup clash with Zebre. Photo: James Crombie/Inpho

 

Pat Lam has made five changes to the Connacht team that lined out in the Guinness Pro12 last weekend with two in the backs and three in the pack for their Champions Cup meeting with Zebre at the Sportsground.

Craig Ronaldson returns from injury to start at inside centre while John Cooney will play at outhalf for the first time in his career. The scrumhalf position is filled by the returning Irish international Kieran Marmion.

Up front, Lewis Stevenson comes in to start in the second row, having made ten appearances from the bench this season. The back row sees the return of captain John Muldoon, who missed out through injury last week. His fellow Galway-man Eoin McKeon is named at openside flanker, having reached the 100-cap milestone at the Liberty Stadium in Swansea last weekend.

James Connolly and Naulia Dawai are named among the replacement forwards. New centre Tom Farrell, who was added to the squad this week, is named in his first match day squad for the province in what will also be his Champions Cup debut if he is called upon.

Connacht team & replacements to play Zebre, Champions Cup, Saturday 14th January, Sportsground (1.0pm kick-off) – live on Sky Sports Mix:

Tiernan O’Halloran, Niyi Adeolokun, Rory Parata, Craig Ronaldson, Matt Healy, John Cooney, Kieran Marmion; Denis Buckley, Tom McCartney, Finlay Bealham, Lewis Stevenson, James Cannon, Sean O’Brien, Eoin McKeon, John Muldoon (capt).

Replacements: Dave Heffernan, JP Cooney, John Andress, James Connolly, Naulia Dawai, Caolin Blade, Tom Farrell, Danie Poolman.

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