Robin Copeland's debut one of six changes for Connacht

Robin Copeland's debut one of six changes for Connacht

Back row Robin Copeland is set to make his Connacht debut as Andy Friend’s side take on Scarlets in the PRO14 at the Sportsground tomorrow at 5.15pm.

Copeland’s inclusion is one of six changes to the Connacht side that took on Edinburgh last weekend.

Irish international Bundee Aki is also included in the starting XV having come off the bench in Murrayfield to make his first appearance of the season. Aki forms a midfield partnership with Tom Farrell who returns after recovering from a stomach bug that ruled him out last weekend.

Winger Cian Kelleher is named on the wing and is part of a back three that includes Matt Healy on the opposite wing and Tiernan O’Halloran at full-back.

Prop Denis Buckley is back in at loosehead to make his third start of the season while Gavin Thornbury is named alongside Quinn Roux in the second row.

Copeland’s inclusion at number 8 sees him named in a back row that also features team captain Jarrad Butler at openside and blindside Sean O’Brien.

Head Coach Andy Friend said: "We have been really impressed with Robin in the pre-season both on and off the field. His energy and maturity have been a big addition to the wider group.

"He played 40 minutes for the Eagles side last weekend and he came through that ok after a niggly injury, so he is good to go for Scarlets".

With last season’s finalists Scarlets and Leinster visiting the Sportsground over the next two weekends, Friend is conscious of the challenge that his squad face.

He said: "Scarlets are a quality side and we expect a huge challenge from them. They are one of the top teams in this competition, so it is a massive challenge for us.

"We have a really healthy competition in our squad at the moment and that is exactly what we need as the big games keep coming".

Connacht: Tiernan O’Halloran, Cian Kelleher, Tom Farrell, Bundee Aki, Matt Healy, Jack Carty, Kieran Marmion, Denis Buckley, Dave Heffernan, Finlay Bealham, Gavin Thornbury, Quinn Roux, Sean O’Brien, Jarrad Butler, Robin Copeland.

Replacements: Tom McCartney, Peter McCabe, Dominic Robertson-McCoy, Ultan Dillane, Colby Fainga’a, Caolin Blade, Craig Ronaldson, Niyi Adeolokun.

Scarlets: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Tom Prydie, 13 Kieron Fonotia, 12 Hadleigh Parkes, 11 Johnny McNicholl, 10 Rhys Patchell, 9 Gareth Davies, 1 Phil Price, 2 Ken Owens (c), 3 Samson Lee, 4 Jake Ball, 5 Steve Cummins, 6 Ed Kennedy, 7 Lewis Rawlins, 8 Blade Thomson

Replacements: 16 Ryan Elias, 17 Wyn Jones, 18 Werner Kruger, 19 David Bulbring, 20 Uzair Cassiem, 21 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 22 Angus O'Brien, 23 Paul Asquith

More on this topic

Connacht coach Friend targeting an overdue win in WalesConnacht coach Friend targeting an overdue win in Wales

Three changes for Connacht's first home game of the seasonThree changes for Connacht's first home game of the season

Carty gaining ground in Ireland’s weapons race at 10Carty gaining ground in Ireland’s weapons race at 10

Friend: We are trying to build depth of squadFriend: We are trying to build depth of squad

More in this Section

Meath SFC semi-finals: Ratoath and Summerhill set for unique showpieceMeath SFC semi-finals: Ratoath and Summerhill set for unique showpiece

Kerry SFC R3: Third-quarter blitz seals last-eight spot for St Kieran’sKerry SFC R3: Third-quarter blitz seals last-eight spot for St Kieran’s

The process to appoint Clare manager has been a sham and an embarrassmentThe process to appoint Clare manager has been a sham and an embarrassment

Cork Premier IHC: Majestic Fr O’Neill’s deliver knockout blowsCork Premier IHC: Majestic Fr O’Neill’s deliver knockout blows


Lifestyle

Helen O’Callaghan says we are the least strict in all of Europe.Praise over punishment: Irish parents least strict in Europe - study

Kya deLongchamps detects a hint of rebellion behind the ritual of afternoon tea.Vintage View: English tradition of afternoon tea won't exit with Brexit

Friends and Young Offenders actors Shane Casey and Dominic MacHale speak to Pat Fitzpatrick about struggling to make it but why they are not seeking out fame.‘I was down to a euro’ - The Young Offenders actors tell of struggle to make it in acting

Gerry Fitzgerald runs Bandon Books Plus in Riverview Shopping Centre, Bandon, Co Cork.We Sell Books: Turning over a new leaf from bank to bookshop in Bandon

More From The Irish Examiner