Carty captains Connacht in Heineken Cup last 16 meeting with Leinster

Apr 7, 2022 12:37 By Dave Hooper
Carty captains Connacht in Heineken Cup last 16 meeting with Leinster
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Carty captains Connacht in Heineken Cup last 16 meeting with Leinster

Andy Friend has recalled all his big names as Connacht face Leinster in the Heineken Champions Cup Round of 16 1st leg tomorrow evening.

British & Irish Lion Bundee Aki returns for his first appearance since before the Six Nations. There’s also a first start of the season for Gavin Thornbury after an impressive cameo off the bench last weekend following an 11 month absence.

The third and final change is the inclusion of club captain Jarrad Butler after missing the win over Benetton.


Butler forms a back row with flankers Cian Prendergast and Conor Oliver, while Leva Fifita partners Thornbury. The front row of Matthew Burke, Dave Heffernan and Finlay Bealham is unchanged.

Match captain Jack Carty starts at 10 beside Kieran Marmion, while Aki will have Tom Farrell for company at outside centre. A back three of full-back Tiernan O’Halloran and wingers Mack Hansen and John Porch completes the side.

"There’s a huge sense of excitement among all the players and management for tomorrow night” explained Friend. “These are the type of games you want to be involved in, and with a capacity crowd behind us it’s going to be a great occasion and one we firmly believe we can win”.


“We have over 45 players training between our Pros and integrated Academy players so that’s a great place to be at this stage of the season. It’s given the coaches some headaches for our squad selection as well."

A capacity crowd is expected to be in attendance for Connacht’s first appearance in the Champions Cup knockout stages.


  1. Tiernan O’Halloran
  2. John Porch
  3. Tom Farrell
  4. Bundee Aki
  5. Mack Hansen
  6. Jack Carty (C)
  7. Kieran Marmion
  1. Matthew Burke
  2. Dave Heffernan
  3. Finlay Bealham
  4. Gavin Thornbury
  5. Leva Fifita
  6. Cian Prendergast
  7. Conor Oliver
  8. Jarrad Butler


  1. Dylan Tierney-Martin
  2. Tietie Tuimauga
  3. Jack Aungier
  4. Oisín Dowling
  5. Abraham Papali’i
  6. Caolin Blade
  7. Conor Fitzgerald
  8. Sammy Arnold

Connacht v Leinster

Friday 8th April


The Sportsgrounds, Kick-off 20:00

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