Connacht have recalled Captain Jarrad Butler and made six further changes for tomorrow’s rescheduled Guinness PRO14 clash with Ospreys at The Sportsground.
Butler lines out in a back row which includes Paul Boyle at number 8 and Conor Oliver on the opposite flank.
The in-form duo of locks Ultan Dillane and Quinn Roux continue to pair up, while Dave Heffernan comes into the starting XV in a front row that includes Denis Buckley and Finlay Bealham.
There’s a new look half-back partnership with Irish international Kieran Marmion named alongside Conor Fitzgerald, while Peter Robb has been handed his first start of the season at number 12 after recovering from a long-term groin issue. John Porch continues at full-back with Alex Wootton and Peter Sullivan on the wings.
The bench includes the returning Bundee Aki who has recovered from a knee injury, and Abraham Papali’i following a recent suspension.
“It says a lot about the depth we have built here in Connacht that we can make seven changes from an interpro and still field a really strong side” said head coach Andy Friend.
“A number of players are getting their first starts in a month so will be eager to impress, and with the likes of Bundee and Abraham on the bench we’ll have some physicality to call on when needed.”
“I’ve spoken this week about the importance of bringing the same energy for every game, regardless of whether it’s an interpro fixture or not” added Friend.
“We’ll put that to the test tomorrow, and after a few disappointing results at home we’re really keen to get back to winning ways here.”
Connacht: John Porch,Peter Sullivan, Tom Daly, Peter Robb, Alex Wootton, Conor Fitzgerald, Kieran Marmion, Denis Buckley, Dave Heffernan, Finlay Bealham, Ultan Dillane, Quinn Roux, Jarrad Butler (c), Conor Oliver, Paul Boyle
Replacements: Shane Delahunt, Matthew Burke, Conor Kenny, Gavin Thornbury, Abraham Papali’I, Caolin Blade, Bundee Aki, Matt Healy
Connacht v Ospreys
Sunday 24th January, 3pm