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21-year-old Fitzgerald at 10, Marmion and Dillane held in reserve for Connacht's visit to Scarlets

Andy Friend has shown his hand for the Pro14 opener, with ex-Ulster prop Paddy McAllister set to make his competitive debut.

Young out-half Conor Fitzgerald.
Young out-half Conor Fitzgerald.
Image: Jean Francois Basset/INPHO

CONNACHT HAVE NAMED their squad for tomorrow’s Pro14 season opener away to Scarlets [KO 5.15pm], with Kieran Marmion and Ultan Dillane among the replacements as 21-year-old Conor Fitzgerald gets a chance to shine in Jack Carty’s absence.

Paddy McAllister is set to make his first competitive start for the western province since signing from Premiership side Gloucester.  

The ex-Ulster prop’s arrival was announced in January, he linked up with the squad this summer and made his debut in Connact’s pre-season friendly win over Munster at The Sportsground last week.

Captain Jarrad Butler starts at eight, while 21-year-old Fitzgerald takes the 10 jersey with Carty on World Cup duty with Ireland. Marmion and Dillane are among those held in reserve by head coach Andy Friend.

“We used 50 players last season and we expect to use a similar number this time around,” Friend said.

paddy-mcallister Paddy McAllister makes his first competitive start for the province tomorrow. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

“We have come through a really good pre-season where we have won three games from three and more importantly we have got to do a lot of work on the training field.

“I think we are definitely further along as a squad compared to where we were this time last season.”
 
He added: “We are expecting a hugely competitive game.

“While they are missing players away on World Cup duty, they also have real depth in their squad. Both sides will be targeting a win, so I think we are in for quality game.”

Connacht

15. Tiernan O’Halloran
14. Stephen Fitzgerald
13. Kyle Godwin
12. Tom Daly
11. Matt Healy
10. Conor Fitzgerald
9. Caolin Blade

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1. Paddy McAllister
2. Tom McCartney
3. Finlay Bealham
4. Gavin Thornbury
5. Quinn Roux
6. Eoghan Masterson
7. Colby Fainga’a
8. Jarrad Butler Capt

Replacements

16. Shane Delahunt
17. Denis Buckley
18. Dominic Robertson-McCoy
19. Ultan Dillane
20. Eoin McKeon
21. Kieran Marmion
22. Peter Robb
23. Darragh Leader.

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