Three changes to the Connacht team for European Champions Cup clash with Leicester Tigers

The Connacht side to face Leicester Tigers tomorrow (k/o 3.15pm) has been named, with Andy Friend’s side aiming to go one step closer to a first appearance in the knockout stage.
 
There are three changes from the side that defeated Munster on New Year’s Day. Two of those come in the tight five where Shane Delahunt starts at hooker and Niall Murray comes into the second row. Props Matthew Burke and Finlay Bealham and lock Oisín Dowling retain their places.
 
The back row as well as the half-back and centre pairings are all unchanged. Jarrad Butler is at number 8 with flankers Cian Prendergast and Conor Oliver alongside him, while Jack Carty captains the side beside scrum-half Kieran Marmion. Bundee Aki and Sammy Arnold start at 12 and 13 respectively.
 
The final change is in the back three where Connacht’s all-time record try scorer Matt Healy comes in for his first appearance of the season, starting on the wing with John Porch on the opposite wing and Tiernan O’Halloran at full-back.
 
Among the replacements is Paul Boyle who has recovered from injury to return to the matchday 23 for the first time since the end of November.
 
Commenting on the team selection, Head Coach Andy Friend says:
 
“This is obviously a huge game and a huge opportunity for the club, but we’ve been treating this like any other game that we want to win. We’ve grown as a group even in the last month since we visited Leicester, so now it’s all about executing and playing as well as I know we’re capable of.
 
We’ll no doubt miss the few extra thousand supporters who would’ve been at The Sportsground without the current restrictions, but I’m sure those lucky enough to have a ticket will make their voices heard.”

 
CONNACHT RUGBY VS LEICESTER TIGERS

Saturday 15th January, 15:15 @ The Sportsground
 

Connacht Rugby

15. Tiernan O’Halloran (197)
14. John Porch (47)
13. Sammy Arnold (26)
12. Bundee Aki (114)
11. Matt Healy (150)
10. Jack Carty (169) (C)
9. Kieran Marmion (196)
1. Matthew Burke (33)
2. Shane Delahunt (110)
3. Finlay Bealham (168)
4. Oisín Dowling (14)
5. Niall Murray (24)
6. Cian Prendergast (18)
7. Conor Oliver (30)
8. Jarrad Butler (83)

Replacements

16. Dave Heffernan (153)
17. Tietie Tuimauga (2)
18. Jack Aungier (22)
19. Ultan Dillane (123)
20. Paul Boyle (63)
21. Caolin Blade (139)
22. Conor Fitzgerald (44)
23. Tom Farrell (67)

Leicester Tigers

15. Bryce Hegarty (5)
14. Freddie Steward (46)
13. Matt Scott (35)
12. Juan Pablo Socino (5)
11. Kini Murimurivalu (31)
10. Freddie Burns (85)
9. Richard Wigglesworth (23)
1. Ellis Genge (c) (100)
2. Nic Dolly (14)
3. Joe Heyes (86)
4. Harry Wells (139)
5. Calum Green (74)
6. Ollie Chessum (22)
7. Tommy Reffell (61)
8. Jasper Wiese (27)

Replacements

16. Charlie Clare (38)
17. James Whitcombe (11)
18. Nephi Leatigaga (54)
19. Tom Manz **
20. Francois van Wyk (7)
21. Jack van Poortvliet (33)
22. Dan Kelly (32)
23. Hosea Saumaki (5)

** denotes senior Leicester Tigers debut