Colm Reilly and Conor Kenny given first starts for Connacht

Coach Andy Friend says province well primed for Pro14 clash with Scarlets

Connacht v Scarlets
Sportsground (Saturday, 7.35, live on TG4)

Connacht coach Andy Friend is able to call upon scrumhalf Kieran Marmion and secondrow Ultan Dillane who have been released from Ireland duty for this Pro14 match. Marmion is included among the replacements with Colm Reilly, who scored a pivotal try for the Ireland Under-20s on their Grand Slam-defining win over Wales in 2019, handed a first start as is another academy graduate, Conor Kenny.

The western province have played just three matches to date in the league. Friend admitted: “While having two postponed games was disappointing, we’ve made sure to take a positive approach to the situation.


“We’ve had a great few weeks training and it’s given some players the opportunity to reach full fitness again. It’s also our first home game in six weeks so we’re looking forward to that. In Conor and Colm we have two more academy graduates making their first starts which is a real positive for us as a club.


"We've also got plenty of experience available to us again since the Edinburgh game, like Jack Carty, Ultan Dillane, Kieran Marmion and Matt Healy. So we're in a healthy spot overall and we can't wait to get back playing."

The Scarlets squeaked past Zebre in their last game and as they sit one place above their hosts in the Conference B table, this is a game that Connacht will be keen to win; and they should manage that goal.

Connacht: J Porch; A Wootton, S Arnold, T Daly, M Healy; J Carty, C Reilly; P McAllister, S Delahunt, C Kenny; U Dillane, G Thornbury; P Boyle, J Butler (capt), A Papali'i. Replacements: J Murphy, D Buckley, J Aungier, E Masterson, C Oliver, K Marmion, T Farrell, P Sullivan.

Scarlets: J McNicholl; R Conbeer, S Hughes (capt), P Asquith, S Evans; D Jones, D Blacker; R Evans, T Davies, J Sebastian; S Lousi, M Jones; E Kennedy, J Morgan, S Kalamafoni. Replacements: D Hughes, P Price, W Kruger, D Drake, U Cassiem, W Homer, A O'Brien, T Morgan.

Referee: S Grove-White (Scotland)

John O'Sullivan

John O'Sullivan

John O'Sullivan is an Irish Times sports writer