Pat Lam rings the changes for Connacht trip to Italy

Pat Lam rings the changes for Connacht trip to Italy
Denis Buckley.

Connacht head coach Pat Lam has made six personnel changes to the side that was beaten by Ospreys at the Sportsground last weekend.

Bundee Aki and Eoin Griffin swap positions in midfield while 22-year-old Cian Kelleher starts on the wing. Caolin Blade is reintroduced at scrum half.

Up front, Denis Buckley returns from injury at loosehead prop while JP Cooney starts at tighthead in the absence of Finlay Bealham through illness this week. There is a new second row partnership of Lewis Stevenson and Andrew Browne.

Irish internationals Ultan Dillane, Kieran Marmion and Matt Healy are all included among the replacements

“Zebre are a team we know well having played them 12 times in the past four seasons,” Pat Lam said. “Our good record against them is due the respect we give them in our preparation and this week has been no different.

“With this being their first game home game of the season, we understand the tough challenge ahead of us on Saturday.

“Despite the injuries and changes in personnel, our focus has been on continued improvement throughout our game and our roles. We’re looking forward to taking another step up in our performance tomorrow.”

Connacht v Zebre at Stadio Lanfranchi on Saturday September 17 - kick off 5:05pm.

Connacht team15 Tiernan O’Halloran, 14 Niyi Adeolokun. 13 Bundee Aki, 12 Eoin Griffin, 11 Cian Kelleher, 10 Jack Carty, 9 Caolin Blade; 1 Denis Buckley, 2 Tom McCartney, 3 JP Cooney, 4 Lewis Stevenson, 5 Andrew Browne, 6 Eoin McKeon, 7 James Connolly, 8 John Muldoon (captain).

Replacements: 16 Dave Heffernan, 17 Ronan Loughney, 18 Conor Carey, 19 Ultan Dillane, 20 Rory Moloney, 21 Kieran Marmion, 22 Shane O’Leary, 23 Matt Healy.

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