Connacht Rugby have announced their lineup for this weekend’s season opener against Ulster, with five uncapped players on the squad.
Connacht will face Ulster at Kingspan Stadium on Saturday in their opening game of the United Rugby Championship.
Peter Dooley, Josh Murphy and Byron Ralston have all been handed their first Connacht cap, with Shamus Hurley-Langton and David Hawkshaw also potential debutants off the bench.
Dooley is named in a front row with Jack Aungier and hooker Dave Heffernan, while Leva Fifita partners Gavin Thornbury in the second row. The pack is completed by flanker Conor Oliver and number 8 Paul Boyle.
Kieran Marmion and Conor Fitzgerald are paired together at 9 and 10, while the two Toms – Daly and Farrell – start at centre. Ralston’s first game will be on the right wing, with John Porch on the opposite wing and Tiernan O’Halloran at full-back.
Thornbury, making his 64th appearance for the province, will be captaining the team for the first time tomorrow.
Andy Friend, now Director of Rugby with the club, said that there’s a great sense of excitement after a positive pre-season.
“There’s a genuine belief and optimism about what we can achieve in this first block of games, which all starts in Belfast tomorrow night.”
“Ulster are a quality side and our battles against them are always hard fought. We’re really looking forward going head-to-head with them in what should be a great season opener for us both.”
CONNACHT RUGBY MATCHDAY SQUAD VS ULSTER RUGBY
Saturday 17th September 2022, 19:35 @ Kingspan Stadium
Number/Name/Caps ( * denotes uncapped)
15. Tiernan O’Halloran (206)
14. Byron Ralston *
13. Tom Farrell (79)
12. Tom Daly (61)
11. John Porch (59)
10. Conor Fitzgerald (53)
9. Kieran Marmion (209)
1. Peter Dooley *
2. Dave Heffernan (165)
3. Jack Aungier (31)
4. Gavin Thornbury (63) (C)
5. Leva Fifita (15)
6. Josh Murphy *
7. Conor Oliver (41)
8. Paul Boyle (73)
16. Dylan Tierney-Martin (6)
17. Denis Buckley (208)
18. Sam Illo (2)
19. Niall Murray (35)
20. Shamus Hurley-Langton *
21. Caolin Blade (150)
22. David Hawkshaw *
23. Oran McNulty (9)