Connacht ring the changes for potentially pivotal Zebre clash

Captain Jarrad Butler has come in at number 8 for the province’s trip to Parma

Connacht’s Jarrad Butler has come back into the side for their meeting with Zebre in the Pro14. Photo: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Connacht’s Jarrad Butler has come back into the side for their meeting with Zebre in the Pro14. Photo: Bryan Keane/Inpho

 

Pro14: Zebre v Connacht

Kick off: 5.30pm, Saturday. Venue: Stadio Lanfranchi , Parma. On TV: Live on TG4 and eirSport.

Andy Friend has recalled some of his big guns to the Connacht starting lineup for their meeting with Zebre as the western province look to come out on top in their battle with Cardiff for a playoff place.

If Connacht win on Saturday and Munster beat Cardiff on Friday night then Connacht can secure that playoff place by beating the Blues next weekend.

In the hope of doing that, Friend has made a host of changes which include recalling captain Jarrad Butler at number 8, who comes into a back row alongside Eoin McKeon and Colby Fainga’a at blindside and openside respectively.

Ireland International lock Ultan Dillane comes back into the second row alongside Gavin Thornbury, while in the front row, props Denis Buckley and Dominic Robertson-McCoy are selected alongside hooker Dave Heffernan.

Jack Carty and Caolin Blade form the half back pairing, with Carty shaking off an arm injury that caused him to be withdrawn last weekend.

In the midfield, Peter Robb comes in for his third start of the season alongside the impressive Tom Farrell.

In the back three Tiernan O’Halloran is named at full back with Matt Healy and Darragh Leader on the wings.

CONNACHT: Tiernan O’Halloran; Darragh Leader, Tom Farrell, Peter Robb, Matt Healy; Jack Carty, Caolin Blade; Denis Buckley, Dave Heffernan, Dominic Robertson-McCoy; Ultan Dillane, Gavin Thornbury; Eoin McKeon, Colby Fainga’a, Jarrad Butler (captain).

Replacements: Shane Delahunt, Peter McCabe, Conan O’Donnell, Joe Maksymiw, Robin Copeland, Kieran Marmion, Tom Daly, Cian Kelleher.

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