Connacht and Worcester have named their teams for tomorrow’s European Challenge Cup game at Sixways (Kick Off 3pm)
Irish Internationals Ultan Dillane, Bundee Aki and Kieran Marmion return to Kieran Keane’s Connacht side as they travel to Sixways to take on Worcester Warriors in the European Challenge Cup on Saturday (Kick off 3pm). A win for Connacht will secure top spot in Pool 5 of the competition and a place in the Quarter Finals with a game to spare.
With James Cannon ruled out with injury, Dillane’s return will be a boost to the Connacht pack which includes loosehead Peter McCabe, who made his first start against Munster and tighthead Conor Carey. In the back row Eoghan Masterson returns at blindside having been rested last week. Captain John Muldoon, who started in Connacht’s last victory in Sixways back in 2009, starts at number 8.
Scrum half Kieran Marmion returns to form a new half back pairing with Craig Ronaldson as Jack Carty is rested from the matchday 23 after a hectic Christmas schedule. The backline is also boosted by Bundee Aki’s return where he will play alongside Tom Farrell.
The back three includes Tiernan O’Halloran at fullback and Darragh Leader and Niyi Adeolokun on the wings. Cian Kelleher is included among the replacements having returned from injury this week.
Worcester Warriors have made six changes to the starting line-up ahead of Saturday’s all-important European Challenge Cup battle with Connacht Rugby.
Head Coach Carl Hogg has kept nine players from the first-team side that battled Bath Rugby in Aviva Premiership action last weekend, as Warriors search for a win to put one foot in the door of the European Challenge Cup knockout stages.
Perry Humphreys, Dean Hammond, Jamie Shillcock, Simon Kerrod, Darren Barry and Pierce Phillips are all called up for the clash.
Wing duo Humphreys and Hammond are handed starts on the wing while in-form Josh Adams who won the Premiership Player of the Month award earlier this week, moves to full-back.
Chris Pennell makes the switch to the centres to join Ryan Mills while Francois Hougaard lines up with Shillcock in the half-back combination.
In the pack, Kerrod lines up with Ethan Waller and Jack Singleton in the front row with Barry and Phillips in the second row.
Skipper GJ van Velze leads the side from the back row joined by David Denton and Sam Lewis.
In the replacements, Matt Cox could be set for his first Warriors showing since September following a bicep injury, while Matti Williams, Biyi Alo, Huw Taylor and Ben Howard are called up to the bench.
Worcester Warriors v Connacht Rugby
Saturday, 13 January
Kick off: 15:00
Referee: Alexandre Ruiz (France), Assistant ref: Sebastien Minery (France), Assistant ref: Cedric Clave (France), Citing Commissioner: Maurizio Vancini (Italy)
Worcester Warriors: Josh Adams ; Perry Humphreys, Chris Pennell, Ryan Mills, Dean Hammond; Jamie Shillcock, Francois Hougaard; Ethan Waller, Jack Singleton , Simon Kerrod, Darren Barry, Pierce Phillips, David Denton, Sam Lewis, GJ van Velze (c)
Replacements: Matti Williams, Ryan Bower, Bi Alo, Huw Taylor, Matt Cox, Michael Dowsett, Sam Olver, Ben Howard
Connacht Rugby: Tiernan O’Halloran; Darragh Leader, Bundee Aki, Tom Farrell, Niyi Adeolokun; Craig Ronaldson, Kieran Marmion; Peter McCabe, David Heffernan, Conor Carey, Ultan Dillane, Quinn Roux, Eoghan Masterson, Jarrad Butler, John Muldoon (c)
Replacements: Shane Delahunt, Denis Coulson, Dominic Robertson-McCoy, Gavin Thornbury, Naulia Dawai, Caolin Blade, Eoin Griffin, Cian Kelleher
Did You Know?
Worcester have won their last four home games, with each of those victories coming by 10+ points
Connacht have won all four of their games this season, their best run in the Challenge Cup since winning seven in a row in 2009/10.