Sunday 22 April 2018

Aki returns to the fray for Connacht's Glasgow test

Jarrad Butler skippers Connacht again. Photo: Sportsfile
Jarrad Butler skippers Connacht again. Photo: Sportsfile

John Fallon

Connacht make their final away trip of a disappointing season when they face another searching evening in Glasgow against a Warriors side aiming to wrap up a semi-final place in the Guinness PRO14.

Connacht succeeded Glasgow as champions two years ago but have fallen off the pace since then, with fans hoping that this is a transition period and that there will be an upward curve in Kieran Keane's second season in charge.

They have little but pride to play for but with Warriors this evening being followed by Leinster on April 28, limiting the damage could be the main target for these two final games of the campaign.

Forwards coach Jimmy Duffy said they face a big test from a Warriors side who set the pace all season but have slipped up a couple of times.

"They have a lot of quality individuals, players that we're well aware of, the likes of (Stuart) Hogg and (Peter) Horne and these guys. These guys can really expose you if you allow them.

"We are working through some things at the minute and really looking forward to the challenge, which is the biggest thing for us. Matching them physically is crucial and keeping the ball ourselves and being efficient with it is crucial.

"In the last few weeks you've seen some of the good stuff that we can do when the weather has gotten better but we have to be able to adapt.

"Like anybody else it may be wet on the weekend but we have a plan in place to keep us in a really good position," he said.

The return of Bundee Aki gives them punch in the centre. He will link up with Peter Robb who yesterday announced a one-year contract extension.

Jarrad Butler again captains the side in what will be John Muldoon's final away match for Connacht. The Galway man is named on the bench.

Duffy said the players were disappointed with the loss last week and are keen to bounce back.

"We are really disappointed about the weekend, really, really disappointed, but what are the positives?

"The positives are we've been through it now, we've had that experience now, it's in the bank, and when we go forward again for the next challenge we're in a better space for it."

Verdict: Glasgow

Glasgow Warriors - S Hogg; T Seymour, A Dunbar, S Johnson, DTH van der Merwe; P Horne, H Pyrgos; A Allan, F Brown, Z Fagerson; S Cummings, J Gray; R Harley, C Gibbins, M Fagerson. Reps: G Stewart, J Bhatti, S Halanukonuka, K McDonald, C Fusaro, A Price, F Russell, N Matawalu.

Connacht - D Leader; N Adeolokun, B Aki, P Robb, M Healy; J Carty, K Marmion; D Buckley, T McCartney, F Bealham; U Dillane, Q Roux; E Masterson, J Butler, E McKeon. Reps: S Delahunt, P McCabe, C Carey, G Thornbury, J Muldoon, C Blade, T Farrell, S Ili.

Ref - F Murphy (IRFU)

  • Glasgow Warriors v Connacht, Live, TG4, 7.35

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