Andy Friend names first Connacht XV as new era begins

Kyle Godwin starts in midfield as province start Pro14 campaign against Glasgow

Kyle Godwin will make his competitive Connacht debut against Glasgow on Saturday. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Kyle Godwin will make his competitive Connacht debut against Glasgow on Saturday. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

 

Connacht v Glasgow Warriors, Saturday September 1st, The Sportsground (3.0pm)

Kyle Godwin starts for Connacht as the Andy Friend era gets underway against Glasgow in Galway on Saturday afternoon.

Godwin - capped once by the Wallabies in 2016 - is joined by Tom Farrell in midfield as the 2016 champions begin their Pro14 campaign at the Sportsground.

There are familar faces in the back three, with Matt Healy and Cian Kelleher on the wings either side of Tiernan O’Halloran, while Caolin Blade and Jack Carty form the halfbacks.

Up front Denis Buckley and Finlay Bealham start at prop either side of Dave Heffernan, with Ultan Dillane and James Cannon in the secondrow.

Life after John Muldoon begins with new captain Jarrad Butler at openside, with Paul Boyle and Eoin McKeon colmpleting the backrow.

Ahead of his first competitive fixture in charge of the province, Friend said: “We’ve had three good pre-season games. You don’t win championships in pre-season, but you can lose them. We’re at the start line in pretty good shape but it’s what we do from here that’s important.

“We are expecting a massive challenge from Glasgow on Saturday afternoon. They got off to a roaring start in last year’s campaign and I have no doubt they will be looking to do something similar this season.

“They have great strength and depth in their squad so it going to be a big challenge. I have heard so much about the atmosphere that our fans create in the Sportsground and I can’t wait to experience it on Saturday.”

Connacht: Tiernan O’Halloran; Cian Kelleher, Kyle Godwin, Tom Farrell, Matt Healy; Jack Carty, Caolin Blade; Denis Buckley, Dave Heffernan, Finlay Bealham, Ultan Dillane, James Cannon, Paul Boyle, Jarrad Butler, Eoin McKeon. Replacements: Shane Delahunt, Peter McCabe, Conor Carey, Quinn Roux, Cillian Gallagher, James Mitchell, Craig Ronaldson, Niyi Adeolokun.

Glasgow Warriors: Stuart Hogg; Tommy Seymour, Nick Grigg, Peter Horne, DTH van der Merwe; Adam Hastings, George Horne; Oli Kebble, George Turner, Zander Fagerson, Scott Cummings, Jonny Gray, Rob Harley, Callum Gibbins, Ryan Wilson. Replacements: Fraser Brown, Alex Allan, D’Arcy Rae, Adam Ashe, Chris Fusaro, Nick Frisby, Alex Dunbar, Niko Matawalu.

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