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Dublin: 19 °C Friday 19 July, 2019

O'Halloran returns from injury as Connacht reinstate Aki to starting line-up for Challenge Cup duty

Denis Buckley has also been named to start against Sale Sharks this weekend.

Tiernan O'Halloran returns to the Connacht starting team.
Tiernan O'Halloran returns to the Connacht starting team.
Image: Inpho/Billy Stickland

TIERNAN O’HALLORAN HAS been named to start for Connacht’s Challenge Cup clash with Sale Sharks following a leg injury which kept him out of action during the Christmas break.

The 26-year old comes into full-back in a much changed team as they prepare to welcome the Premiership side to the Sportsground on Saturday [Kick-off, 3pm].

Head coach Andy Friend has also named a new midfield pairing as Bundee Aki comes back into the starting team after missing out on the inter-pro defeat to Munster last weekend.

He previously started both of the seasonal derby clashes during the Christmas week.

Following his contract extension earlier this week, Jack Carty continues at out-half and will be  partnered by former Sale Sharks player James Mitchell.

Denis Buckley is named to start at loosehead following his recovery from illness to make his 150th appearance for the province.

There is also a new second row partnership with Ultan Dillane and James Cannon coming into the side, while in the back row Captain Jarrad Butler returns from injury and is named at number 8 alongside James Connolly and Eoghan Masterson.

Bundee Aki celebrates after the game Bundee Aki after Connacht's win over Ulster last month. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Connacht are currently three points behind Sale in Pool 3 and Saturday’s result will have a huge influence on who qualifies for the knock out stages of the competition.

Meanwhile, Sale Sharks have also named their team for the clash, with Chris Ashton starting at fullback hoping to inflict as much damage as he did with his debut hat-trick in the reverse fixture earlier this season.

Josh Beaumont, and Byron McGuigan miss the game through injury.

Kieran Wilkinson makes his fourth European Challenge Cup start this season at fly half, with  Faf de Klerk, James O’Connor and Danny Solomona also giving an exciting look to the Sharks’ back-line.


15. Tiernan O’Halloran
14. Cian Kelleher
13. Kyle Godwin
12. Bundee Aki
11. Matt Healy
10. Jack Carty
9. James Mitchell

1. Denis Buckley
2. Tom McCartney
3. Finlay Bealham
4. Ultan Dillane
5. James Cannon
6. Eoghan Masterson
7. James Connolly
8. Jarrad Butler


16. Shane Delahunt
17. Matthew Burke
18. Conor Carey
19. Quinn Roux
20. Colby Fainga’a
21. Caolin Blade
22. David Horwitz
23. Darragh Leader

Sale Sharks 
15.Chris Ashton
14.Denny Solomona
13. Sam James
12.James O’Connor
11. Arron Reed
10.Kieran Wilkinson
9.Faf de Klerk
1.Ross Harrison
2.Rob Webber
3.WillGriff John
4.Bryn Evans
5.James Phillips
6.Jono Ross
7.Tom Curry
8.Josh Strauss

16.Curtis Langdon
17.Tom Bristow
18. Joe Jones
19.Andrei Ostrikov
20.Ben Curry
21.Will Cliff
22.Luke James
23.Cameron Redpath

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