Sunday 17 December 2017

Adeolokun, Dillane and Healy all return for Connacht's Champions Cup play-off

1 March 2017; Ultan Dillane of Connacht during squad training at the Sportsground in Galway. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile
1 March 2017; Ultan Dillane of Connacht during squad training at the Sportsground in Galway. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile newsdesk

Connacht will welcome back Niyi Adeolokun, Ultan Dillane and Matt Healy for Saturday's Champions Cup play-off decider with Northampton after the Ireland trio were cleared to play by the province's medical staff.

Adeolokun will come back into the starting side after overcoming a hamstring injury and will replace Danie Poolman on the wing, who shifts to outside centre in place of Tom Farrell who drops out of the matchday squad entirely.

Meanwhile second-row Dillane is in line to play his first game since Connacht's February win over Treviso, after being named on the bench following a successful return from shoulder surgery in early March.

Winger Matt Healy will also make his return to the squad after recovering from a hand injury he suffered in training two months ago. Healy will start from the bench on Saturday in place of winger Darragh Leader who has been left out of the matchday squad.

Elsewhere Ireland prop Finlay Bealham and hooker Dave Heffernan have both been promoted to the starting XV in place of Shane Delahunt and Conor Carey who both drop to the bench, while flankers Sean O'Brien and Jake Heenan will join captain John Muldoon in a new look backrow with Eoin McKeon and James Connolly both left out of the matchday squad.

Pat Lam has made seven changes in total from the side that were thrashed 50-14 by Munster a fortnight ago with the former Auckland Blues coach fully focused on Saturday's play-off finale with Northampton in what will be his final game in charge of the province.

"Everything over the past few weeks has been geared towards this game," Lam told the club's website.

"We know we haven’t been anywhere near our best in the last few matches and that’s been a big disappointment for us as a team. We’ve had a very positive week on and off the training pitch but we all know that the eighty plus minutes from 4pm tomorrow is when it needs to count.”

Connacht team to face Northampton Saints

Saturday, May 20th, kick off 4pm, Franklin’s Gardens. Broadcast live on TG4.

15        Tiernan O’Halloran

14        Niyi Adeolokun

13        Danie Poolman

12        Craig Ronaldson

11        Cian Kelleher

10        Jack Carty

9          Kieran Marmion

1          Denis Buckley

2          Dave Heffernan

3           Finlay Bealham

4          Quinn Roux

5          Andrew Browne

6           Sean O’Brien

7          Jake Heenan

8          John Muldoon (captain)


16        Shane Delahunt

17        JP Cooney

18        Conor Carey

19        Ultan Dillane

20        Naulia Dawai

21        Caolin Blade

22        John Cooney

23        Matt Healy

Injured/unavailable: Eoin Griffin, Tom McCartney, Ronan Loughney, Nepia Fox-Matamua, Shane O’Leary, Bundee Aki, Peter Robb, Stacey Ili, Tom Farrell, Josh Rowland.

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