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Dublin: 7 °C Tuesday 19 March, 2019
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'Fit and ready' Roux and O'Brien return as Connacht make four changes for Ulster

Andy Friend has shown his hand for the Sportsground showdown.

Back in action: Sean O’Brien and Quinn Roux.
Back in action: Sean O’Brien and Quinn Roux.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

CONNACHT DUO QUINN Roux and Sean O’Brien return to the province’s starting side for the visit of Ulster to the Sportsground tomorrow [KO 7.35pm].

Head coach Andy Friend has made four changes to his Connacht team for this weekend’s interpro after their narrow defeat to Leinster at the RDS last time out, with hooker Shane Delahunt and tight head Conor Carey also starting.

They join Denis Buckley in the front row while Roux partners Gavin Thornbury in the second row. Elsewhere, O’Brien comes in at blindside, with Jarrad Butler captaining the Westerners and reverting to the number 8 jersey.

“These interpro fixtures are massive occasions and when they take place over the Christmas period, they bring that increased level of excitement,” Friend said.

“We know there will be a big home crowd in the Sporstground and we will need to be up for the occasion with Ulster coming to town. This block of fixtures is hugely important in the context of our season, but we are not looking beyond Ulster on Friday evening.”

He added: “Quinn Roux and Sean O’Brien are fit and ready to go and they come back into the side. They have been two of our top performers this season, so they will give us increased options.

“In the front row we also have Shane Delahunt and Conor Carey coming in. These are two other players who have been going really well over the past few weeks. We have some real depth in these positions so it is great for us as coaches to have these options and to bring in fresh legs and know that they are ready to go.

“Ulster are coming off the back of a great win over Munster and I’m sure they will come to the Sportsground full of confidence.”

Connacht XV to face Ulster

15. Darragh Leader
14. Cian Kelleher
13. Tom Farrell
12. Bundee Aki
11. Kyle Godwin
10. Jack Carty
9. Caolin Blade

1. Denis Buckley
2. Shane Delahunt
3. Conor Carey
4. Gavin Thornbury
5. Quinn Roux
6. Sean O’Brien
7. Colby Fainga’a
8. Jarrad Butler (captain)

Replacements

16. Dave Heffernan
17.Peter McCabe
18. Dominic Robertson McCoy
19. Ultan Dillane
20. Paul Boyle
21. James Mitchell
22, David Horwitz
23. Stephen Fitzgerald

Murray Kinsella, Gavan Casey and Andy Dunne look back on a memorable year for Irish rugby.


Source: Heineken Rugby Weekly on The42/SoundCloud

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Emma Duffy

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