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Dublin: 9°C Wednesday 21 April 2021
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Irish prop O'Donnell set for Mitre 10 Cup debut alongside Sonny Bill Williams

The Sligo native starts for Counties Manukau on Saturday.

O'Donnell in Super Rugby action for the Sunwolves.
O'Donnell in Super Rugby action for the Sunwolves.
Image: Sunwolves

FORMER CONNACHT PROP Conán O’Donnell’s remarkable career adventure continues apace tomorrow, after the Sligo native was named to start for Counties Manukau in their Mitre 10 Cup opener.

O’Donnell, who was released by his native province earlier this year, featured for the Sunwolves of Japan in the closing rounds of the 2019 Super Rugby season, making five appearances.

And after securing a move to New Zealand, the 23-year-old will line out for the southern Auckland-based outfit against Taranaki at Navigation Homes Stadium on Saturday afternoon. 

The Mitre 10 Cup is the highest tier of provincial rugby in New Zealand and has historically acted as a proving ground for Super Rugby, with O’Donnell starting alongside All Black Sonny Bill Williams.

Steve Hansen released the 52-time capped international to play in the opening rounds of the competition as he looks to prove his form and fitness ahead of the World Cup.

Williams started the 16-16 Rugby Championship draw with South Africa in Wellington a fortnight ago but after injuries limited his game-time for the Blues last term, all eyes will be on how the 34-year-old performs on Saturday. 

Hurricanes back row Sam Henwood captains Counties Manukau, while All Black prop Nepo Laulala — the younger brother of former Munster centre Casey Laulala — also starts.

The42 Rugby Weekly is back as we get ready for next month’s World Cup. Murray, Gavan and Bernard Jackman get us started by looking ahead to this weekend’s opening warm-up game against Italy.


Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

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Ryan Bailey

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