Thursday 24 May 2018

Centurion Bealham looking to prove point

Michael Bradley. Photo: Sportsfile
Michael Bradley. Photo: Sportsfile
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Michael Bradley will return to Galway with Zebre this evening, and the former Westerners boss has included two ex-Connacht players in his starting XV.

Ciaran Gaffney lines out against his home province at full-back, while Rory Parata is on the wing.

Connacht are aiming to make it eight home wins on the bounce but they were rocked earlier this week with the confirmation that Tiernan O'Halloran (hamstring) faces a spell out.

Kieran Keane has largely had a settled squad during the Six Nations, and while Zebre are boosted by the return of some of their Italian contingent, Connacht should have too much quality.

Boost

Craig Ronaldson's return from injury has been a big boost to his side and the former Lansdowne player will be looking to maintain his good form from out-half.

Finlay Bealham hasn't got much of a look-in with Ireland in recent times, and he will be looking to prove a point to Joe Schmidt when he makes his 100th appearance for Connacht.

"To be in that bracket of players that have reached the 100-appearance milestone is something I'm really honoured to be a part of," the tighthead said.

"From my family's perspective, they're really proud. To walk out there for the hundredth time in front of a Sportsground crowd in the great atmosphere they always create is something I'm really looking forward to".

Verdict: Connacht

Connacht - D Leader; C Kelleher, E Griffin, T Farrell, M Healy; C Ronaldson, C Blade; D Coulson, T McCartney, F Bealham; G Thornbury, J Cannon; E Masterson, N Dawai, S O'Brien (capt). Reps: D Heffernan, P McCabe, C Carey, Q Roux, J Muldoon, K Marmion, J Carty, P Ahki.

Zebre - C Gaffney; G Di Giulio, G Bisegni, F Afamasaga, R Parata; C Canna, G Palazzani; C Ah-Nau, O Fabiani, E Bello; J Tucker, G Biagi; J Mayer, M Mbanda, R Giammarioli. Reps: T D'Apice, A De Marchi, D Chistolini, D Sisi, D Minnie, R Raffaele, S Bordoli, G Venditti.

REF - M Adamson (SRU)

  • Connacht v Zebre, Live, TG4, 7.35

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