Kieran Marmion returns as Connacht rotate for Edinburgh

Ultan Dillane and winger Niyi Adeolokun also included with Bundee Aki on the bench

Bundee Aki and Kieran Marmion during Connacht training at the Sportsground. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Bundee Aki and Kieran Marmion during Connacht training at the Sportsground. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

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Kieran Marmion is set to make his first start of the Pro14 campaign as Connacht take on Edinburgh in Murrayfield on Friday.

The game also marks the return of his fellow international Bundee Aki who is named on the bench for Connacht’s first away trip of the season.

Marmion’s return is one of four changes to the Connacht starting side that secured a bonus point win over Zebre last weekend, with young Sligo prop Conan O’Donnell, lock Ultan Dillane and winger Niyi Adeolokun also included.

Academy player Paul Boyle is again named at number eight after his two tries and man of the match performance against Zebre. He is part of an unchanged backrow with captain Jarrad Butler at openside and Sean O’Brien at blindside.

Adeolokun’s inclusion on the wing sees him join a back three that includes Matt Healy on the opposite wing and Tiernan O’Halloran at fullback. The centre pairing of Eoin Griffin and Kyle Godwin is also retained with Aki set to feature off the bench.

Announcing his team, Connacht head coach Andy Friend spoke about the depth in his squad which is leading to some genuine competition for places: “It is pleasing that we have some real depth and quality coming through, it’s how we balance it while rewarding good performances at the same time. We also really need that physicality against this Edinburgh side.

“This week we are welcoming back two more internationals. Kieran Marmion will start, having come off the bench last week. He is a real quality player and it is great to have him in our starting team after getting an extra break following Ireland’s tour to Australia. The other big addition is to have Bundee back. He starts off the bench and is raring to go. We face a big challenge in Murrayfield and no doubt Edinburgh will be hurting after the loss last weekend - it’s another massive challenge for us.”

Connacht: T O’Halloran; N Adeolokun, E Griffin, K Godwin, M Healy; J Carty, K Marmion; C O’Donnell, D Heffernan, F Bealham; G Thornbury, U Dillane; S O’Brien, J Butler, P Boyle. Replacements: S Delahunt, P McCabe, D Robertson-McCoy, J Cannon, C Fainga’a, C Blade, C Ronaldson, B Aki.

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