Connacht’s South African outhalf Marnitz Boshoff gets first start
Matt Healy is back after injury as Benetton Treviso travel to the Sportsground
Marnitz Boshoff starts in the 10 jersey for Connacht this weekend. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho
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).