The Connacht squad for this Friday’s Ulster Interpro has been announced, with Tom Daly returning after a three month absence.
Daly will be of the starting XV at Kingspan Stadium tomorrow, after a three month absence due to a knee injury he sustained against Ulster at the Aviva Stadium.
Joining him in the centre is Sammy Arnold, and Daly is far from the only player returning from absences caused by injury or national service.
The starting lineup also includes Denis Buckley for the first time since June, Conor Fitzgerald & John Porch who were unavailable last week, and Cian Prendergast who has returned from a stint with Ireland as a development player.
It’s a much different squad than lost to Glasgow last weekend, with eleven changes in total.
Buckley is named in a new-look tight five with Shane Delahunt at hooker and Tietie Tuimauga who’s named at tighthead, while Niall Murray and Oisín Dowling are paired together in the second row.
Jarrad Butler captains the side from number 8, with Prendergast and Conor Oliver on the flanks.
In the backs, out-half Conor Fitzgerald is handed his first start of the season with Kieran Marmion alongside him, while a new-look back three features Porch at full-back with Alex Wootton and Peter Sullivan on the wings.
Head Coach Andy Friend said that Connacht are hoping to see a marked improvement on their performance against Glasgow, which he candidly states wasn’t up to snuff.
“We’ve had an honest week with difficult conversations about what happened last weekend,” Friend said.
“The performance wasn’t nearly good enough and we need to see a major improvement tomorrow against a strong Ulster team who are on a good run of form.”
“We’re welcoming back a number of players for various reasons which is always a plus, and we can take confidence from a good record up in Belfast the last few years.”
Connacht and Ulster will meet at Kingspan Stadium this Friday, February 4, with kick-off at 8:15pm.
The full Connacht squad named is:
15. John Porch (48)
14. Peter Sullivan (17)
13. Sammy Arnold (29)
12. Tom Daly (53)
11. Alex Wootton (28)
10. Conor Fitzgerald (45)
9. Kieran Marmion (198)
1. Denis Buckley (201)
2. Shane Delahunt (113)
3. Tietie Tuimauga (4)
4. Niall Murray (26)
5. Oisín Dowling (17)
6. Cian Prendergast (20)
7. Conor Oliver (32)
8. Jarrad Butler (86) (C)
16. Jonny Murphy (17)
17. Jordan Duggan (22)
18. Greg McGrath (3)
19. Leva Fifita (6)
20. Paul Boyle (66)
21. Colm Reilly (8)
22. Cathal Forde (1)
23. Oran McNulty (6)