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Connacht hand Hawkshaw first start at out-half

The province have named their team to take on the Bulls in Pretoria on Friday.

David Hawkshaw.
David Hawkshaw.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

CONNACHT HAVE HANDED David Hawkshaw a first start at out-half as the province prepare to take on Jake White’s Bulls in Pretoria on Friday [KO 5.30, TG4/Premier Sports 2/URC TV].

Director of rugby Andy Friend has made seven changes to the team that lost to the Stormers last week.

Captain Jack Carty doesn’t make the squad despite joining up with the group following the Stormers defeat, while the province are also without Bundee Aki, who was red-carded in Stellenbosch last week.

Hawkshaw, a summer signing from Leinster, gets his first start in the Connacht 10 shirt having come off the bench in the URC defeats to Ulster and the Stormers, and will be partnered by Kieran Marmion.

The only further change in the Connacht backline sees Tom Daly named at inside centre, with Tom Farrell continuing at outside centre.

An unchanged back three sees Oran McNulty start at fullback with John Porch and Mack Hansen named on the wings.

In the front row, Dave Heffernan returns to the team alongside Denis Buckley and Finlay Bealham, while Leva Fifita and Oisín Dowling form a new second row pairing.

Josh Murphy moves to blindside flanker, with Conor Oliver at openside and captain Jarrad Butler completing the back row.

Hooker Grant Stewart and Academy graduate Ciarán Booth could both make their debuts off the bench, with Connacht opting for a 6:2 split.

“Whilst our first two performances have been disappointing and below our own expectations, the mood within the team remains positive,” Friend said.

“Everyone has been working really to hard iron out some the issues that have hindered us in the opening rounds, and we’re excited about the opportunity that the Bulls presents.

“All five players who joined us post the Stormers match have proven to be great additions for us, especially our team captain Jack Carty.

“It’s been fantastic to have him back training with us for the first time this season, and he’s on target for selection in the not too distant future.”

Meanwhile the Bulls have welcomed back both Kurt Lee-Arendse and Canan Moodie for the clash at Loftus Versfeld. 

Bulls:

15. Kurt-Lee Arendse

14. Canan Moodie

13. Cornal Hendricks

12. David Kriel

11. Sbu Nkosi

10. Johan Goosen

9. Zak Burger

1. Gerhard Steenekamp

2. Johan Grobbelaar

3. Francois Klopper

4. Walt Steenkamp

5. Ruan Nortje

6. Marcel Coetzee (captain)

 7. Marco van Staden

8. Elrigh Louw

Replacements:

16. Jan-Hendrik Wessels

17. Simphiwe Matanzima

18. Mornay Smith

19. Janko Swanepoel

20. Reinhardt Ludwig

21. Embrose Papier

22. Chris Smith

23. Lionel Mapoe

Connacht:

15. Oran McNulty

14. John Porch 

13. Tom Farrell

12. Tom Daly 

11. Mack Hansen 

10. David Hawkshaw 

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9. Kieran Marmion 

1. Denis Buckley 

2. Dave Heffernan 

3. Finlay Bealham 

4. Leva Fifita 

5. Oisín Dowling 

6. Josh Murphy 

7. Conor Oliver 

8. Jarrad Butler (captain)

Replacements:

16. Grant Stewart

17. Peter Dooley 

18. Jack Aungier

19. Gavin Thornbury

20. Shamus Hurley-Langton 

21. Colm Reilly 

22. Byron Ralston

23. Ciarán Booth 

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Ciarán Kennedy

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