Sunday 23 July 2017

Bundee Aki returns as Pat Lam makes five changes for Dragons clash

Bundee Aki is in the Connacht team
Bundee Aki is in the Connacht team

Bundee Aki returns to the Connacht team as Pat Lam makes five changes for Friday's PRO12 clash against Newport Gwent Dragons.

Stacey IIi gets the nod on the wing and will make his first start in the competition while Caolin Blade comes in at scrumhalf

There are two changes up front as hooker and last week’s try scorer Shane Delahunt is promoted from the bench and Eoin McKeon returns to the back row.

"It’s always tough for us going over to Rodney Parade. Even when we’ve been successful there, they were always hard-fought wins," said Lam.

"Dragons, under Kingsley Jones, have changed their mind set in terms of how they like to play the game and they certainly use the ball a lot more. It’s set up to be a good game of rugby but we have to remain focused on our own jobs.

 “Our mental preparation is vital, particularly in another short week where we are on the road for the third week in a row. It’s the last game before a two-week break in fixtures so, as a group, we are determined to right the wrongs from a disappointing performance last time out.”

Ulster boss Les Kiss has brought in Brett Herron, Rob Lyttle and Sam Windsor in the backline, with Peter Browne and Clive Ross joining the pack for their clash against Edinburgh at Murrayfield.

The front five remains unchanged from last week's defeat to Munster while Callum Black, Rob Herring and Wiehahn Herbst make up the front row with Dan Tuohy and Franco can der Merwe in the second row.

Connacht team to face Dragons

15           Tiernan O’Halloran (108)

14           Niyi Adeolokun (40)

13           Bundee Aki (48)

12           Peter Robb (21)

11           Stacey Ili (4)

10           Jack Carty (61)

9              Caolin Blade (28)


1              JP Cooney (35)

2              Shane Delahunt (21)

3              Conor Carey (5)

4              Quinn Roux (37)

5              Andrew Browne (148)

6              Eoin McKeon (93)

7              Jake Heenan (40)

8              John Muldoon (captain) (283)


16           Dave Heffernan (65)

17           Saba Meunargia (2)

18           Dominic Robertson-McCoy (2)

19           James Cannon (1)

20           James Connolly (21)

21           Conor McKeon (2)

22           Shane O’Leary (21)

23           Cian Kelleher (7)

Ulster team and replacements to play Edinburgh, Friday 4th November, BT Murrayfield (kick-off 7.35pm):

(15-9): C Piutau; T Bowe, L Marshall, S Windsor, R Lyttle, B Herron, R Pienaar;

(1-8): C Black, R Herring (capt), W Herbst, D Tuohy, F van der Merwe, P Browne, C Ross, S Reidy;

Replacements (16-23): J Andrew, K McCall, A Warwick, R Diack, C Joyce, P Marshall, A Cairns, J Stockdale.

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