The Connacht Rugby management team have made big changes to the line up that will face off against Munster on Sunday, with two players making their debut for the province.
A total of 14 changes have been made to the side that beat Ulster in the first match for Connacht Rugby in the resumed Guinness PRO14 season.
Sammy Arnold is starting in his debut appearance for Connacht, facing the province he joined the club from no less.
New Zealander Abraham Papali’i will also be making his first appearance for Connacht after being signed from the Bay of Plenty.
He will be joined on the back row by Conor Oliver and Eoghan Masterson who is the only player retained from last week.
Quinn Roux captains the side having recovered from injury to take his place in the second row alongside Niall Murray, with Paddy McAllister, Shane Delahunt and Dominic Robertson-McCoy completing the pack.
Sunday’s half-back pairing consists of Caolin Blade and Conor Fitzgerald, while Arnold will be partnered in the centre by Tom Daly.
The experienced Tiernan O’Halloran and Matt Healy are included in the back three, while there’s also a first appearance for Colm de Buitléar since January 2019.
The winger from Carraroe played four times during 2018/19 while in the Connacht Academy, but hasn’t featured since suffering a serious achilles injury in the 2019/20 pre-season.
Commenting on the team selection, Head Coach Andy Friend said that a key objective here, and in their last game against Ulster, has been to give some “much needed game-time” to player, who have gone months off the pitch due to COVID-19.
“Thankfully we’ve so far managed to do that after last week’s excellent result. Now is an opportunity for a new group of players to impress so I’m looking forward to seeing them in action.”
Interpros against our neighbours Munster are always keenly contested and Sunday will be no different.
“They have a Guinness PRO14 semi-final to clinch but we’ll be looking to end our 2019/20 campaign on a high.”
“We’ve also got two players making their Connacht debuts in Sammy Arnold and Abraham Papali’i so it’ll be a special occasion for them.”
Connacht and Munster will face off on Sunday at Aviva Stadium in Dublin, with kick off at 3pm.
The full Connacht Rugby side named for the match is:
- Paddy McAllister
- Shane Delahunt
- Dominic Robertson-McCoy
- Niall Murray
- Quinn Roux (C)
- Eoghan Masterson
- Conor Oliver
- Abraham Papali’i
- Caolin Blade
- Conor Fitzgerald
- Matt Healy
- Tom Daly
- Sammy Arnold
- Colm de Buitléar
- Tiernan O’Halloran
- Jonny Murphy
- Conor Kenny
- Matthew Burke
- Ultan Dillane
- Seán Masterson
- Stephen Kerins
- Peter Robb
- Conor Dean