26 April 2024

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Connacht and Dragons name teams for URC clash on Saturday night in Wales

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Connacht and Dragons name teams for URC clash on Saturday night in Wales

Connacht Head Coach Pete Wilkins has named his side for tomorrow’s BKT United Rugby Championship trip to Dragons (8 pm).  There are four changes from the side that picked up a bonus point win at home to Zebre last week, with Denis Buckley, Gavin Thornbury, Cian Prendergast and Tiernan O’Halloran coming into the starting XV. Buckley is joined by captain Dave Heffernan and fellow double centurion Finlay Bealham in the front row while Joe Joyce partners Thornbury. Prendergast comes in at the number 8 position meaning flankers Shamus Hurley-Langton and Conor Oliver are retained.  Also keeping his place is scrum-half Matthew Devine while JJ Hanrahan starts at out-half against his old club. Bundee Aki and Tom Farrell are paired together at centre, while a reshuffled back three sees O’Halloran come in at full-back and Shane Jennings move to the right wing, and John Porch shifting sides to the left.  There’s just the one change to the 6-2 bench named last week, with Dylan Tierney-Martin coming in for his potential first game back since a neck injury 3 months ago. 

Commenting ahead of the game, head coach Pete Wilkins says:  “We’ve had a great training week so everyone’s fully prepared and ready to go. Rodney Parade is always a tough place for visiting teams and we’re fully aware of the importance of us getting a win in the context of the overall season. With Denis, Gavin, Cian and Tiernan coming in, they bring added experience and leadership which is needed in these type of games. Combined with a consistent selection across the rest of the 23 I’m confident we have a squad capable of coming home with the win.” 

20:00, Saturday 27th April 2024 @ Rodney Parade  


15. Tiernan O’Halloran (235)
14. Shane Jennings (11)
13. Tom Farrell (110)
12. Bundee Aki (135)
11. John Porch (85)
10. JJ Hanrahan (17)
9. Matthew Devine (3)
1. Denis Buckley (246)
2. Dave Heffernan (196)
3. Finlay Bealham (200)
4. Joe Joyce (17)
5. Gavin Thornbury (74)
6. Shamus Hurley-Langton (37)
7. Conor Oliver (81)
8. Cian Prendergast (65)

16. Dylan Tierney-Martin (32)
17. Peter Dooley (33)
18. Sam Illo (21)
19. Oisín Dowling (56)
20. Jarrad Butler (126)
21. Caolin Blade (188)
22. Cathal Forde (27)
23. Paul Boyle (91)


Wales hooker Elliot Dee will make his 150th appearance for Dragons when they face Connacht in the United Rugby Championship (URC) on Saturday. Dee, 30, is one of 10 changes for the game at Rodney Parade, part of an all-new front row alongside Rhodri Jones and Chris Coleman. Aaron Wainwright and Harri Keddie return in the back row, as does lock Matthew Screech. Scrum-half Rhodri Williams, centre Steff Hughes, wing Ewan Rosser and full-back Jordan Williams are also recalled. Williams takes the 15 jersey from Cai Evans who switches to outside-half, while there is also a positional switch in the pack where Taine Basham moves from number eight to openside.

Dragons: Jordan Williams; Rio Dyer, Steff Hughes (capt), Aneurin Owen, Ewan Rosser; Cai Evans, Rhodri Williams; Rhodri Jones, Elliot Dee, Chris Coleman, Ben Carter, Matthew Screech, Harri Keddie, Taine Basham, Aaron Wainwright. Replacements: James Benjamin, Rodrigo Martinez, Luke Yendle, George Nott, Sean Lonsdale, Che Hope, Will Reed, Joe Westwood

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