Internationals Return For Connacht

Bundee Aki, Ultan Dillane and Dave Heffernan will all start for Connacht in their Pro14 inter-conference clash with Cardiff Blues at the Sportsground.

Jarrad Butler returns to captain the side from openside flanker, with Eoghan Masterson and Paul Boyle forming the rest of the back row.

Dillane is partnered by Gavin Thornbury in the second row, while Heffernan is joined by props Jordan Duggan and Finlay Bealham to complete the pack.

Duggan will make his first start for the province with his seven previous appearances coming off the bench.

Caolin Blade and Jack Carty start at 9 and 10 respectively, while Bundee Aki forms an exciting centre partnership with Tom Daly. John Porch continues his run of starting every game this season, forming a back three with wingers Matt Healy and Alex Wootton.

“Tomorrow marks the start of a block of games that will ultimately define our season” said Head coach Andy Friend.

“We have a great opportunity to keep the pressure on Munster at the top while opening some daylight between ourselves and the chasing pack. We know our home form isn’t where it should be so this is our opportunity to put that right”.

“It’s great to welcome Dave, Ultan and Bundee back into the fold, and they’re re-joining an already healthy group of players” added Friend.

“We had tough news for Quinn Roux and Peter Robb this week but overall we’re in a good spot and that’s allowed us to pick a squad based on form.”

Tiernan O’Halloran, who picked up some game-time for the Eagles last week, is named among the replacements having last played against Ulster during the Christmas interpros.

With 6 points separating the two sides between second and third in Conference B, the Connacht management team have drafted the trio straight into the starting team for tomorrow’s clash.


  1. John Porch
  2. Alex Wootton
  3. Tom Daly
  4. Bundee Aki
  5. Matt Healy
  6. Jack Carty
  7. Caolin Blade
  1. Jordan Duggan
  2. Dave Heffernan
  3. Finlay Bealham
  4. Ultan Dillane
  5. Gavin Thornbury
  6. Eoghan Masterson
  7. Jarrad Butler (C)
  8. Paul Boyle


  1. Shane Delahunt
  2. Denis Buckley
  3. Jack Aungier
  4. Oisin Dowling
  5. Abraham Papali’i
  6. Kieran Marmion
  7. Sean O’Brien
  8. Tiernan O’Halloran

Connacht vs Cardiff Blues

Saturday February 20th

The Sportsground, k/o 7.35pm