Connacht’s South African outhalf Marnitz Boshoff gets first start

Matt Healy is back after injury as Benetton Treviso travel to the Sportsground

Connacht v Benetton Treviso, Sportsground (3.0)

Connacht's South African Marnitz Boshoff gets a first start for the province, Matt Healy is back after injury, Tiernan O'Halloran returns from a two try performance against Canada in the November series while flanker Nepia Fox-Matamua is another to ease himself back into the walk-on team.

Rory Parata is in line to make a first appearance of the season off the bench. The home side may be without their international contingent but coach Pat Lam can still field a strong side and is looking to kick on from the victory over the Cardiff Blues in the last round of matches.

He said: “We know we are expected to win this game against Treviso but we can only do that on the back of solid preparation. It’s been a good week together as a squad and we’re excited to get out there to fight for more vital points before attention turns to Champions Cup rugby.”


Treviso are without a win in the last five Guinness Pro12 matches and haven’t won on the road in two years; it is four seasons since the Italian side last won a game in Galway.

Even in the absence of Niyi Adeolokun Connacht possess great pace in the back three, in Bundee Aki a game winner and provided the pack provide a reasonable platform they should ease out to a bonus point victory.

Connacht: T O'Halloran: C Kelleher,  B Aki, S Ili,  M Healy; M Boshoff,  J Cooney, D Buckley, T McCartney, C Carey; Q Roux, J Cannon; N Fox-Matamua, J Heenan, J Muldoon (capt). Replacements: D Heffernan, JP Cooney, D Robertson-McCoy, S O'Brien, E McKeon, C Blade, J Carty, R Parata.

Benetton Treviso: D Odiete, A Esposito, M Tagicakibau, A Sgarbi (capt), L Sperandio; I McKinley, T Tebaldi; A De Marchi, D Giazzon, S Ferrari; M Lazzaroni, M Fuser; A Steyn, R Santamaria, M Barbini. Replacements: L Bigi, F Zani, M Zanusso, N Quaglio, V Flammini, E Gori, T Allan, A Pratichetti.

Referee: I Davies (Wales).

John O'Sullivan

John O'Sullivan

John O'Sullivan is an Irish Times sports writer