Connacht have named their starting XV for this weekend’s Sharks game, in a match that will see Caolin Blade earn his 150th cap for the province.
Connacht will face against the Cell C Sharks in Durban this Saturday in the United Rugby Championship at 3:05pm Irish Time.
There are six changes from the side that beat the Lions last week, with Finlay Bealham, Gavin Thornbury, Leva Fifita, Conor Oliver, Conor Fitzgerald and Tom Farrell all brought into the starting XV.
Bealham forms an experienced front row with Denis Buckley and Dave Heffernan, while Jarrad Butler captains the side from number 8 with Cian Prendergast at blindside flanker.
It’s an historic game for Monivea scrum-half Caolin Blade who reaches 150 appearances for the club, while Tom Daly partners Farrell at centre.
The back three is unchanged so Mack Hansen again starts at full-back with wingers Alex Wootton and John Porch for company.
If Connacht triumph this Saturday, it will be important for having back to back wins on their South Africa trip.
They will also become the first team to beat all four South African sides, having already defeated the Vodacom Bulls, DHL Stormers and Emirates Lions.
Head Coach Andy Friend acknowledged that this would be a “tremendous achievement”, but that Connacht are well aware of the challenge ahead tomorrow.
“The Sharks have named a side full of Springbok internationals and will have a large and passionate fanbase behind them in Durban.”
“That said, the group has taken huge confidence from the win in Johannesburg and the atmosphere around the camp all week has been really positive.”
CONNACHT RUGBY MATCHDAY 23 VS CELL C SHARKS
Saturday 30th April, 15:05 Irish time / 16:05 local time @ Hollywoodbets Kings Park
15. Mack Hansen (13)
14. John Porch (57)
13. Tom Farrell (77)
12. Tom Daly (59)
11. Alex Wootton (32)
10. Conor Fitzgerald (51)
9. Caolin Blade (149)
1. Denis Buckley (206)
2. Dave Heffernan (163)
3. Finlay Bealham (172)
4. Gavin Thornbury (61)
5. Leva Fifita (14)
6. Cian Prendergast (29)
7. Conor Oliver (40)
8. Jarrad Butler (94) (C)
16. Dylan Tierney-Martin (4)
17. Jordan Duggan (27)
18. Jack Aungier (30)
19. Niall Murray (33)
20. Oisín Dowling (24)
21. Kieran Marmion (207)
22. Jack Carty (178)
23. Tiernan O’Halloran (205)