Jack Carty has shaken off an arm injury to start at out-half for Connacht as they travel to Zebre tomorrow evening in the Guinness Pro-14.
The result will have a huge bearing on Connacht’s hopes of reaching the knock out stages of the competition and ultimately qualifying for next season’s Heineken Champions Cup.
“We have picked a strong side and a side capable of going to Zebre and winning the game” explained Connacht head coach Andy Friend.
“We are fully aware of the dangers that Zebre can present, particularly when they are at home. There are a number of our boys who were not involved in Europe last weekend, so they are coming back in fresh after that break and that brings more energy to the group” explained Friend.
“We said all along that we want to be in the knockout stages of the PRO14 and with three games to go, our destiny is still in our own hands“.
“If we keep winning we will be in that playoff spot so that is our sole focus away to Zebre on Saturday” added Friend.
Captain Jarrad Butler has been recalled at number 8, who comes into a back row alongside Eoin McKeon and Colby Fainga’a at blindside and openside respectively.
Ireland international lock Ultan Dillane comes back into the second row alongside Gavin Thornbury, while in the front row, props Denis Buckley and Dominic Robertson-McCoy are selected alongside hooker Dave Heffernan.
Jack Carty and Caolin Blade form the half-back pairing, with Carty shaking off an arm injury that caused him to be withdrawn last weekend.
In the midfield, Peter Robb comes in for his third start of the season alongside the impressive Tom Farrell.
The back three, see’s Tiernan O’Halloran named at full-back with Matt Healy and Darragh Leader on the wings.
Connacht: Tiernan O’Halloran, Darragh Leader, Tom Farrell, Peter Robb, Matt Healy, Jack Carty, Caolin Blade, Denis Buckley, Dave Heffernan, Dominic Robertson-McCoy, Ultan Dillane, Gavin Thornbury, Eoin McKeon, Colby Fainga’a, Jarrad Butler (Capt).
Replacements: Shane Delahunt, Peter McCabe, Conan O’Donnell, Joe Maksymiw, Robin Copeland, Kieran Marmion, Tom Daly, Cian Kelleher.
Zebre v Connacht
Saturday April 6
Kick-off 5:30pm (Irish time)