Kieran Marmion returns for Connacht’s trip to face Ospreys
Scrumhalf fit again with November internationals looming, Bundee Aki also starts
Kieran Marmion returns to the Connacht XV for Friday’s trip to play the Ospreys. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho
Ospreys v Connacht, Friday October 26th, Bridgend (8.05pm kick-off, Premier Sports/TG4).
Kieran Marmion returns to the Connacht XV for Friday night’s Pro14 trip to play the Ospreys in Bridgend.
Marmion’s return from an ankle injury is timely given Conor Murray’s absence from next month’s November internationals, putting the Connacht scrumhalf in the frame for the Ireland nine jersey.
Marmion starts in the halfbacks alongside Jack Carty, with Bundee Aki returning in midfield alongside Tom Farrell. Tiernan O’Halloran, Niyi Adeolokun and Cian Kelleher form the back three.
Finlay Bealham - who was given an Ireland recall for the autumn on Wednesday - starts in the frontrow with Denis Buckley and Tom McCartney.
Quinn Roux and Ultan Dillane start in the engineroom with Sean O’Brien, Jarrad Butler and Paul Boyle in the backrow.
Ahead of the trip to Wales, coach Andy Friend said: “We have a few of our more experienced players coming back into the side which is a big boost to the squad.
“Caolin Blade has done really well for us over the past few games, but it is great to have Kieran back as well. He is a really important player for us and he is fit and rearing to go.
“We also have Bundee back in our midfield alongside Tom Farrell. So overall, we are strengthened by our returning players for what we expect to be a tough fixture.”
Connacht: Tiernan O’Halloran; Niyi Adeolokun, Tom Farrell, Bundee Aki, Cian Kelleher; Jack Carty, Kieran Marmion; Denis Buckley, Tom McCartney, Finlay Bealham; Ultan Dillane, Quinn Roux; Sean O’Brien, Jarrad Butler (C), Paul Boyle. Replacements: Shane Delahunt, Conan O’Donnell, Conor Carey, James Cannon, Colby Fainga’a, Caolin Blade, Conor Fitzgerald, Kyle Godwin.
Ospreys: Dan Evans; Hanno Dirksen, Cory Allen, Tiaan Thomas-Wheeler, Keelan Giles; Sam Davies, Harri Morgan; Rhodri Jones, Scott Otten, Tom Botha; Lloyd Ashley, James King; Dan Lydiate; Olly Cracknell (C), Rob McCusker. Replacements: Scott Baldwin, Gareth Thomas, Alex Jeffries, James Ratti, Guido Volpi, Matthew Aubrey, James Hook, Tom Williams.