Caolin Blade added to starting lineup for Champions Cup clash

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Galway Daily sport Four Connacht players named for Ireland ‘A’ Match Day Squad

Caolin Blade is the only change being made to the starting Connacht side headed for their 2nd leg Champions Cup match against Leinster this evening.

The Monivea native is named at scrum-half with the remaining 14 players unchanged from the side that started the 1st leg at The Sportsground.

Kieran Marmion is named among the replacements while there’s two further changes on the bench, with the inclusion of Denis Buckley having returned from injury, and hooker Jonny Murphy. Conor Fitzgerald will make his 50th appearance for the province if called upon.

Connacht are headed to Leinster’s home ground at Aviva Stadium today, hoping for a better outcome in the Champions Cup knockout stages than they had last week.

Leinster edged out Connacht 26-21 at the Sportsground last Friday, after a physically intense confrontation.

Head Coach Andy Friend acknowledged that there was “a sense of disappointment” not having secured the win, despite a good performance overall.

“Having said that, I know this group can bring their performance on another level, which is essential if we’re to reach the last eight.”

A win of 6 points or more would see Connacht qualify for the quarter-finals of the Heineken Champions Cup for the first time in their history.

“We’ve a good record in the Aviva over the last two years or so and it’s a pitch that suits our style of rugby. Coupled with a strong travelling support behind us it’s set to be another great occasion.”

Expecting large crowds travelling to the match in Dublin today, Irish Rail have added an extra evening service on Friday to accommodate returning fans.

CONNACHT RUGBY MATCHDAY 23 VS LEINSTER RUGBY
Friday 15th April, 17:30 @ Aviva Stadium

Number/Name/Caps
15. Tiernan O’Halloran (204)
14. John Porch (55)
13. Tom Farrell (76)
12. Bundee Aki (116)
11. Mack Hansen (11)
10. Jack Carty (176) (C)
9. Caolin Blade (147)
1. Matthew Burke (37)
2. Dave Heffernan (161)
3. Finlay Bealham (171)
4. Gavin Thornbury (60)
5. Leva Fifita (12)
6. Cian Prendergast (27)
7. Conor Oliver (38)
8. Jarrad Butler (92)

Replacements
16. Jonny Murphy (20)
17. Denis Buckley (204)
18. Jack Aungier (28)
19. Oisín Dowling (22)
20. Abraham Papali’i (23)
21. Kieran Marmion (205)
22. Sammy Arnold (36)
23. Conor Fitzgerald (49)