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Jack Carty to lead Connacht against Ospreys as Wootton makes welcome return


Jack Carty

Jack Carty

Jack Carty

Fresh from signing a new three-year deal with his home province this week, Jack Carty will lead Connacht in tomorrow evening's return to the United Rugby Championship against the Ospreys.

Connacht will welcome the Welsh side to the Sportsground, looking to pick up where they left off before the break when they impressively beat Ulster.

Carty will captain a strong team that includes summer signing Shayne Bolton for the first time. The 20-year-old South African starts at outside centre alongside Sammy Arnold, who recently announced he will leave Connacht for Brive at the end of the season.

There is also a welcome return for Alex Wootton, who makes his first appearance of the season following injury, while Oran McNulty is handed his first Connacht start at full-back.

The in-form Mack Hansen starts on the left wing, while Kieran Marmion partnering Carty at half-back.

Up front, the tight five is changed with a front-row of Matthew Burke, Dave Heffernan and Finlay Bealham, with Ballina native Dave Heffernan making his 150th appearance for this home province.

There’s a second-row pairing of Niall Murray and Ultan Dillane, and the final change is in the back-row where Jarrad Butler starts at blindside flanker, opposite Conor Oliver and Paul Boyle completing the side from No 8.

Among those on the bench is Peter Robb who could make his first appearance since February if called upon.

“Everyone had a deserved few days off after the Aviva game and we’ve since spent the last few weeks fully focussed on getting a win tomorrow night,” Connacht head coach Andy Friend said.

“Ospreys have made a really good start to their season and they’re always difficult to play against, so everyone knows we have to push on from our inter-pro performances to get the win we need.

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“Shayne Bolton has settled in really well since arriving from South Africa so he’s deserving of a start, and it’s a special game for Dave Heffernan and Ballina RFC on the day of his 150th appearance."

Wales scrum-half Rhys Webb will captain the Ospreys, for whom a win would lift them into the top four of the table.

Connacht – O McNulty; A Wootton, S Bolton, S Arnold, M Hansen; J Carty (capt), K Marmion; M Burke, D Heffernan, F Bealham; N Murray, U Dillane; J Butler, C Oliver, P Boyle. Reps: S Delahunt, J Duggan, J Aungier, O Dowling, E Masterson, C Blade, C Fitzgerald, P Robb.

Ospreys – D Evans; M Nagy, O Watkin, J Hawkins, L Morgan; Stephen Myler, R Webb (capt); N Smith, E Taione, T Botha; B Davies, R Davies; S Cross, J Morgan, E Roots. Reps: S Parry, G Thomas, R Henry, W Griffiths, M Morris, R Morgan-Williams, J Thomas, C Evans.

REF – B Slain (Scotland)

Connacht v Ospreys, Sportsground, 7.35, Live on RTE2 and Premier Sports

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