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Dublin: 9 °C Tuesday 20 August, 2019

Training ground injury forces Lam to rethink his Connacht team for Grenoble

Jake Heenan has been ruled out of the European showdown in the Stade des Alpes.

Connacht: home semi-final if they win in France on Saturday.
Connacht: home semi-final if they win in France on Saturday.
Image: Donall Farmer/INPHO

PAT LAM HAS been forced to rethink his plans for Connacht’s Challenge Cup quarter-final against Grenoble.

Jake Heenan was due to start Saturday evening’s showdown against Bernard Jackman’s side (8.05pm), but the New Zealand flanker rolled his ankle in training and has been ruled out.

There is better news at scrum-half where Kieran Marmion returns, one of five changes from the side which lost in Ulster last weekend.

That includes first starts for both Finlay Bealham and Ultan Dillane in the pack since making their senior international debuts during Ireland’s Six Nations campaign.

Academy star Sean O’Brien starts at openside while Danie Poolman is named on the wing.

“We have a few changes to the squad from last week but we are confident that we have a strong team to go over and execute our game plan against Grenoble,” Lam said.

The winners of Saturday night’s tussle in the Stade des Alpes will host a home semi-final against either Harlequins or London Irish.

Lam added: “We understand the challenge we face traveling to play a confident Grenoble side in their home ground. But this is knock-out rugby and we are determined to bring a semi-final home to the Sportsground for our supporters.

With two teams looking to play an attacking style of rugby, it will come down to the small margins in defence and who can take their opportunities. It’s set up to be a really entertaining game and we’re really looking forward to it.

Connacht (v Grenoble)

15. Matt Healy
14. Niyi Adeolokun
13. Robbie Henshaw
12. Bundee Aki
11. Danie Poolman
10. Shane O’Leary
9. Kieran Marmion

1. Denis Buckley
2. Tom McCartney
3. Finlay Bealham
4. Ultan Dillane
5. Andrew Browne
6. Sean O’Brien
7. Eoin McKeon
8. John Muldoon (c)


16. Dave Heffernan
17. Ronan Loughney
18. JP Cooney
19. Quinn Roux
20. James Connolly
21. John Cooney
22. Peter Robb
23. Fionn Carr

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‘It’d be remiss of the whole organisation if we stood back and went ‘Oh, we’re happy”

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Niall Kelly

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