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Connacht Rugby | Aki returns and Dowling handed first begin as Connacht look to make it three straight wins in Benetton journey


Bundee Aki has been launched from Eire responsibility to start out for Connacht in Friday night’s Guinness PRO14 conflict away to Benetton Rugby (okay/o 5.30pm Irish time).

Aki began in final week’s bonus level win over Cardiff Blues and can once more play tomorrow in enhance to Andy Pal’s aspect who look to make it three wins on the bounce within the PRO14.

Oisin Dowling has additionally been handed his first begin for the province, having featured off the bench within the final two video games.

Dowling is joined alongside Gavin Thornbury within the second row, with Paddy McAllister, Shane Delahunt and Finlay Bealham finishing the tight 5. The again row is unchanged from the win over Cardiff Blues final day out, with Paul Boyle at quantity 8 alongside flankers Eoghan Masterson and captain Jarrad Butler.

There’s a new-look half-back pairing with Kieran Marmion alongside Conor Fitzgerald, whereas Tom Daly companions Aki within the centre. Lastly Tiernan O’Halloran is handed his first begin in almost two months after recovering from harm, taking his place at full-back with Alex Wootton and Peter Sullivan on the wings.

There’s an skilled look to the bench with centurions Denis Buckley, Caolin Blade and Jack Carty all included.

Head Coach Andy Pal says they’re eager to offer game-time to some gamers with out disrupting the stream of quite a few spectacular group performances:

“This can be a massive day for Oisin getting his first begin, and with Bundee launched from Eire responsibility and the likes of Tiernan and Kieran coming into the group additionally they carry lots of expertise with them. Total we’ve named a really robust squad that’s able to holding our successful run going.”

Pal additionally harassed the significance of treating every sport like a cup ultimate throughout this ultimate run-in:

“I stated at first of this block of video games that we realistically want 5 wins from 5 to have an opportunity of ending prime of the Convention, so this sport is simply as essential as what’s gone earlier than. Italy is at all times a tricky place to get a win and we’ve seen from their previous couple of performances that they’re getting nearer to that first victory this season, so we have now to be at our greatest to be sure that doesn’t come towards us.”

CONNACHT MATCHDAY 23 VS BENETTON RUGBY
Friday twenty sixth February, Stadio Monigo, kickoff 5.30pm Irish time / 6.30pm native

Title/Quantity/Caps
15. Tiernan O’Halloran (188)
14. Peter Sullivan (9)
13. Tom Daly (39)
12. Bundee Aki (107)
11. Alex Wootton (14)
10. Conor Fitzgerald (29)
9. Kieran Marmion (177)
1. Paddy McAllister (15)
2. Shane Delahunt (91)
3. Finlay Bealham (151)
4. Oisin Dowling (2)
5. Gavin Thornbury (51)
6. Eoghan Masterson (103)
7. Jarrad Butler (67) (C)
8. Paul Boyle (51)

Replacements
16. Jonny Murphy (12)
17. Denis Buckley (193)
18. Dominic Robertson-McCoy (60)
19. Niall Murray (10)
20. Sean Masterson (9)
21. Caolin Blade (123)
22. Jack Carty (151)
23. John Porch (32)