Connacht squad named to face Glasgow in season opener

Galway Daily rugby Four changes made to starting XV for Connacht v Glasgow

Andy Friend has named the Connacht Rugby squad that will face off against Glasgow in the 2020/21 Guinness PRO14 season opener this weekend.

Jared Butler is leading again in his third season as captain since joining in 2017. He is leading from his position as blindside flanker at number 6.

Conor Oliver is also earning a start at openside after an impressive pre-season campaign. Paul Boyle completes the back row at number 8.

Denis Buckley, Dave Heffernan and Finlay Bealham bring a wealth of experience to the front row, while Gavin Thornbury and Quinn make up the rest of the pack in the second row.

Friend has named the same backline that put in a brilliant attacking display against Ulster at the Aviva Stadium, with Irish international trio Kieran Marmion, Jack Carty and Bundee Aki forming the 9-10-12 axis.

Tom Farrell partners Aki in the centre, while John Porch continues at full-back with Alex Wootton and Peter Sullivan on the wings.

200 spectators will be in attendance at The Sportsground – including previous season ticket holders – in what will be the first Guinness PRO14 game at The Sportsground in over seven months.

“There’s no hiding the fact that last weekend’s Eagles game was very disappointing and we’re keen to quickly move on from it,” Andy Friend said.

“That said, the spirit and energy at training has been really positive all week and there’s always a sense of excitement when you start a new season.

“If this squad can produce what I know they’re capable of, I know we’ve a great chance of picking up a win.”

Their recent record against Glasgow isn’t great he admitted, acknowledging that the Warriors have a very strong side, but Friend firmly believes Connacht can start the season on a high note.

It’s vital to pick up wins at home in the PRO14 Friend added, and they are hoping to rack up two wins in the opening two weeks.

Saturday 3rd October @ The Sportsground (k/o 5.15pm)

Number, Name, Caps
15. John Porch (18)
14. Peter Sullivan (1)
13. Tom Farrell (58)
12. Bundee Aki (101)
11. Alex Wootton (1)
10. Jack Carty (140)
9. Kieran Marmion (167)
1. Denis Buckley (179)
2. Dave Heffernan (130)
3. Finlay Bealham (142)
4. Gavin Thornbury (39)
5. Quinn Roux (101)
6. Jarrad Butler (56) CAPTAIN
7. Conor Oliver (2)
8. Paul Boyle (40)

16. Jonny Murphy (7)
17. Jordan Duggan (1)
18. Jack Aungier (1)
19. Niall Murray (7)
20. Seán Masterson (3)
21. Caolin Blade (112)
22. Conor Fitzgerald (24)
23. Sammy Arnold (1)