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Summer signing Shayne Bolton handed Connacht debut against Ospreys

The 21-year-old South African — who is Irish qualified through his Dublin grandmother — starts in midfield alongside Sammy Arnold.

Shayne Bolton starts in midfield alongside Sammy Arnold.
Shayne Bolton starts in midfield alongside Sammy Arnold.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

SHAYNE BOLTON WILL make his Connacht debut on Friday evening when Andy Friend’s side welcome Ospreys to the Sportsground in the United Rugby Championship.

The 21-year-old South African — who is Irish qualified through his Dublin grandmother —  starts in midfield alongside Sammy Arnold.

His inclusion is one of four changes to the side which beat Ulster in the Aviva Stadium in Round 5.

Alex Wootton comes in on the right wing for his first appearance of the season, while at full back, Oran McNulty is set to make his first start for the province.

The final change is in the pack where Jarrad Butler starts in the back row, with Eoghan Masterson dropping to the bench.

Friday evening’s game is also set to be a special one for hooker Dave Heffernan, who wins his 150th Connacht cap.

“Everyone had a deserved few days off after the Aviva game and we’ve since spent the last few weeks fully focused on getting a win tomorrow night,” Friend said.

“Ospreys have made a really good start to their season and they’re always difficult to play against, so everyone knows we have to push on from our interpro performances to get the win we need.”

With four wins from their first five games, Ospreys travel west knowing that a win would see them move into the top four in the URC table.

“They are especially tough at home, play with a really passionate crowd behind them and it can be quite an intimidating place to go due to the ground’s location,” Ospreys head coach Toby Booth said.

“We know we need to be very good at the basics, above anything else, and that gets you into the game. When you are away from home that’s the entry point to trying to apply some pressure.”

Connacht

15. Oran McNulty
14. Alex Wootton
13. Shayne Bolton
12. Sammy Arnold
11. Mack Hansen
10. Jack Carty (capt)
9. Kieran Marmion

1. Matthew Burke
2. Dave Heffernan
3. Finlay Bealham
4. Niall Murray
5. Ultan Dillane
6. Jarrad Butler
7. Conor Oliver
8. Paul Boyle

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16. Shane Delahunt
17. Jordan Duggan
18. Jack Aungier
19. Oisín Dowling
20. Eoghan Masterson
21. Caolin Blade
22. Conor Fitzgerald
23. Peter Robb

Ospreys

15. Dan Evans
14. Max Nagy
13. Owen Watkin
12. Joe Hawkins
11. Luke Morgan
10. Stephen Myler
9. Rhys Webb (capt)

1. Nicky Smith
2. Elvis Taione
3. Tom Botha
4. Bradley Davies
5. Rhys Davies
6. Sam Cross
7. Jac Morgan
8. Ethan Roots

Replacements:

16. Sam Parry
17. Gareth Thomas
18. Rhys Henry
19. Will Griffiths
20. Morgan Morris
21. Reuben Morgan-Williams
22. Josh Thomas
23. Cai Evans

BTL 5

About the author:

Niall Kelly

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