Connacht name starting lineup for Newcastle Challenge Cup fixture

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Galway Daily sport Connacht name starting lineup for Newcastle Challenge Cup fixture
photo credit: ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

Connacht have announced the squad lineup for this weekend’s trip to Newcastle, with six changes from last week’s side.

Denis Buckley, Shane Delahunt, Leva Fifita, Shamus Hurley-Langton, Conor Fitzgerald and the fit-again Adam Byrne have all been named to the starting XV.

Commenting on the team selection, Andy Friend said that they would have to match the physicality that Newcastle brought to the Sportsground last month.

Fresh off his Ireland inclusion in the Six Nations, Finlay Bealham forms the front row with Buckley and Delahunt, while Josh Murphy keeps his place in the second row.

The back row is completed by captain Jarrad Butler at number 8, and openside flanker Conor Oliver.

Colm Reilly is retained at scrum-half, while the Cathal Forde-Byron Ralston combo at centre continues after impressive performances last weekend.

Byrne is named on the right wing, with Alex Wootton on the left and Mack Hansen again named at full-back.

If Connacht secure a bonus point win in this game, it could mean the potential for home games as they progress further into the knockout stages.

“It’s been a good Challenge Cup campaign for us so far, but tomorrow’s game is very important in mapping out our potential route in the knockout stages,” Andy Friend said.

“We want to play as many games as possible at our home so we travel to England knowing every point matters.”

CONNACHT RUGBY MATCHDAY 23 VS NEWCASTLE FALCONS
Saturday 21st January, 17:30 @ Kingston Park

Number/Name/Caps
15. Mack Hansen (23)
14. Adam Byrne (4)
13. Byron Ralston (11)
12. Cathal Forde (6)
11. Alex Wootton (39)
10. Conor Fitzgerald (62)
9. Colm Reilly (16)
1. Denis Buckley (221)
2. Shane Delahunt (123)
3. Finlay Bealham (184)
4. Leva Fifita (21)
5. Josh Murphy (10)
6. Shamus Hurley-Langton (11)
7. Conor Oliver (53)
8. Jarrad Butler (106) (C)

Replacements
16. Dylan Tierney-Martin (14)
17. Jordan Duggan (33)
18. Jack Aungier (42)
19. Darragh Murray (4)
20. Ciaran Booth (4)
21. Caolin Blade (160)
22. Tom Daly (70)
23. Tom Farrell (89)