Pat Lam welcomes return to The Sportsground

Pat Lam welcomes return to The Sportsground

Connacht Rugby trio Denis Buckley, Tom McCartney and John Cooney have all returned from injury to take their place in the starting XV against Cardiff Blues.

Head coach Pat Lam believes the PRO12 break has helped the squad and is keen to show their home fans and improved performance.

"The break in games has been extremely beneficial as we have been able to get some players back from injury and work on improving our game.

"We know we have to improve on our last outing to get the points on offer so being back at the Sportsground after a long break is a major boost. The atmosphere will once again be electric as its all set to be a full house, which is fantastic on an international weekend."

Buckley packs down with the returning McCartney and tighthead Conor Carey for his first game in two months.

James Cannon makes his first Connacht start alongside Irish international Quinn Roux in the second row. The back row, with captain John Muldoon at number 8, remains unchanged from the last round with flankers Eoin McKeon and Jake Heenan starting.

Wing Niyi Adeolokun starts at the Sportsground tomorrow night in a back three with Cian Kelleher and Stacey Ili.

Craig Ronaldson partners Bundee Aki in midfield while October Player of the Month and out half Jack Carty is joined by Cooney on his season debut.

Connacht v Cardiff Blues at the Sportsground, Friday November 25 - kick off 7.35pm.

Connacht team: 15 Cian Kelleher, 14 Niyi Adeolokun, 13 Bundee Aki, 12 Craig Ronaldson, 11 Stacey Ili, 10 Jack Carty, 9 John Cooney; 1 Denis Buckley, 2 Tom McCartney, 3 Conor Carey, 4 Quinn Roux, 5 James Cannon, 6 Eoin McKeon, 7 Jake Heenan, 8 John Muldoon - capt.

Replacements: 16 Dave Heffernan, 17 Ronan Loughney, 18 JP Cooney, 19 Lewis Stevenson, 20 Nepia Fox-Matamua, 21 Caolin Blade, 22 Marnitz Boshoff, 23 Danie Poolman.


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