Connacht make four changes to their pack for Edinburgh clash

Injuries force head coach Andy Friend to make changes for trip to Murrayfield

Connacht head coach Andy Friend will be without Dave Heffernan, Ultan Dillane and Gavin Thornbury on Friday night. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Connacht head coach Andy Friend will be without Dave Heffernan, Ultan Dillane and Gavin Thornbury on Friday night. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

 

Connacht head coach Andy Friend has made four changes to his starting team to face Edinburgh in the Pro14 at Murrayfield on Friday (kick off: 7.35pm).

With Dave Heffernan and Ultan Dillane unavailable due to international duty and Gavin Thornbury picking up an injury last weekend, all four changes come in the forward pack that dominated Cardiff last time out.

In the frontrow, prop Denis Buckley and hooker Shane Delahunt are the two new faces with tighthead Finlay Bealham retained from the Cardiff game, while in the secondrow, Joe Maksymiw and Niall Murray both come into the starting team.

The backrow however remain unchanged with Paul Boyle and Colby Fainga’a at blindside and openside respectively and captain Jarrad Butler at number eight.

There are no changes in the backs which means that Jack Carty and Kieran Marmion continue their halfback partnership, while in midfield Kyle Godwin and Peter Robb will hope to make a big impact against their conference rivals.

The Connacht team is completed by a back three that includes Tiernan O’Halloran at fullback and Niyi Adeolokun and John Porch on the wings.

Friend says his team are relishing the challenge: “we put in a good performance against Cardiff, but we know there are still areas for improvement and Edinburgh in Murrayfield are a different prospect this week. They have set the pace in our conference and are sitting top of the table. We know that results against them at home and away between now and the end of the season will have a huge bearing on our qualification prospects.

“We have made four changes to our starting team from last weekend but there is still a familiar look to it. We have selected a team that we feel will challenge Edinburgh and we are looking forward to the challenge on Friday evening.”

Connacht: Tiernan O’Halloran; Niyi Adeolokun, Kyle Godwin, Peter Robb, John Porch; Jack Carty, Kieran Marmion; Denis Buckley, Shane Delahunt, Finlay Bealham; Niall Murray, Joe Maksymiw; Paul Boyle, Colby Fainga’a, Jarrad Butler (capt).

Replacements: Jonny Murphy, Paddy McAllister, Dominic Robertson-McCoy, Eoghan Masterson, Eoin McKeon, Caolin Blade, Conor Fitzgerald, Tom Daly.

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