Andy Friend makes five changes for Connacht’s Cheetahs clash

Province looking to end South African tour with two wins from two in Bloemfontein

Connacht pictured at their final training session in Cape Town. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Connacht pictured at their final training session in Cape Town. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

 

Pro14, Cheetahs v Connacht, Saturday December 1st, Bloemfontein (kick-off 3.0pm Irish time)

Andy Friend has made five changes to his starting XV as Connacht look to end their South African tour in style on Saturday.

The province picked up a bonus point win over the Southern Kings last weekend, and Friend has brought winger Niyi Adeolokun back into the fold for their clash in Bloemfontein.

Tiernan O’Halloran starts at 15 with Matt Healy on the other wing, while Kyle Godwin and Tom Farrell are named in midfield. Last week’s man of the match Jack Carty and Caolin Blade resume in the halfbacks.

Hooker Tom McCartney also returns to the starting XV, with Denis Buckley and Conor Carey at prop. Ultan Dillane and Gavin Thornbury start at lock with Paul Boyle, Jarrad Butler and Robin Copeland forming the backrow.

Ahead of Saturday’s fixture, Friend said: “The win against the Kings last week was hugely important for the morale among the group and it sets us up for the challenge of taking on the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.

“The players have worked really hard in training over the two weeks. They have been hugely challenged in the intensity and physicality that we have worked on and they have responded really well. Coming over here we set ourselves the target of two wins and that firmly remains our goal.”

Connacht: Tiernan O’Halloran; Niyi Adeolokun, Kyle Godwin, Tom Farrell, Matt Healy; Jack Carty, Caolin Blade; Denis Buckley, Tom McCartney, Conor Carey, Ultan Dillane, Gavin Thornbury, Paul Boyle, Jarrad Butler (Capt), Robin Copeland. Replacements: Shane Delahunt, Peter McCabe, Dominic Robertson-McCoy, James Cannon, Colby Fainga’a, James Mitchell, David Horwitz, Cian Kelleher.

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