Saturday 21 September 2019

Robbie Henshaw starts at fullback as Connacht ring the changes for Munster battle

Robbie Henshaw will start at fullback for Connacht against Munster
Robbie Henshaw will start at fullback for Connacht against Munster

Pat Lam has made nine changes from the team that started against Brive in the Challenge Cup last week for their clash against Munster tomorrow in the Pro12.

USA international outhalf AJ MacGinty is named in the number 10 shirt for his first Pro12 start. The 25-year-old is joined at half back by Ireland international Kieran Marmion, who this week signed a new two-year deal with the province.

Matt Healy returns from injury to take his place on the left wing while Galway man Tiernan O'Halloran is named on the right in a shift that sees Robbie Henshaw start at fullback for the second time this season.

Craig Ronaldson is promoted from the bench to line out in a midfield partnership with the only player to have started every game this season, Bundee Aki.

In the pack, only two players, Nathan White and Eoghan Masterson, are recalled from last week. Denis Buckley and Academy hooker Shane Delahunt make up the front row with White while Ultan Dillane and Aly Muldowney start together in the second row for the second time this season.

John Muldoon at the launch of the limited edition Connacht Green Lantern jersey yesterday

John Muldoon returns to captain the side in a back row with Masterson at Number 8 and Academy flanker James Connolly who will make his Pro12 debut in Limerick, having made four European appearances to date. 

Academy and former Ireland Under-20s back row Sean O'Brien is named among the replacements. He made his Connacht debut in Russia earlier this month but tomorrow would represent a first PRO12 appearance for the 20-year-old from Galway.

"Injuries withstanding, we've picked this team based on the weather expected tomorrow as well as the game plan we have in place to try and deal with Munster's strengths," said Lam.

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"We have a long list of casualties but as I've said before, it's up to the next guy to come in and do the job and I'm really pleased with the way players, especially the younger guys, have stepped up so far this season.

"The amount of youth coming through in this side is exciting with 13 of our match day squad graduates or current members of the Connacht Academy.

"We are under no illusion as to the task at hand tomorrow. Axel (Anthony Foley) has done a great job moulding and building a tough and resilient Munster side over the last two years. Our team work and work ethic on and off the ball will need to be at its best to give us a chance to get the four points on offer." 

Connacht team to face Munster

15           Robbie Henshaw

14           Tiernan O'Halloran

13           Bundee Aki

12           Craig Ronaldson

11           Matt Healy

10           AJ MacGinty

9              Kieran Marmion


1              Denis Buckley

2              Shane Delahunt

3              Nathan White

4              Ultan Dillane

5              Aly Muldowney

6              John Muldoon (captain)

7              James Connolly

8              Eoghan Masterson



16           Dave Heffernan

17           Ronan Loughney 

18           Finlay Bealham

19           George Naoupu

20           Sean O'Brien

21           Ian Porter

22           Jack Carty

23           Darragh Leader 


Unavailable/Injured:  Tom McCartney, Rodney Ah You, JP Cooney, Quinn Roux, Ben Marshall, Andrew Browne, Nepia Fox-Matamua, Jake Heenan, Eoin McKeon, John Cooney, Fionn Carr, Danie Poolman, Dave McSharry, Api Pewhairangi, Conor Finn.

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