Henshaw at fullback as AJ MacGinty prepares to make Connacht debut from the bench

All aboard. This is Connacht’s last stop before the 12,000 KM round trip to Krasnoyarsk.

Image: James Crombie/INPHO

CONNACHT HAVE MADE six changes for the Pro12 visit of Treviso tomorrow (KO 19.30) with Ireland centre Robbie Henshaw returning to the backline as a fullback.

The 22-year-old made his provincial and international breakthroughs in the number 15 position, but he has proven himself comfortable at both 12 and 13 more recently.

With Henshaw in the back three, Tiernan O’Halloran shifts to the wing with Bundee Aki and Craig Ronaldson making up the midfield.

Dublin-born USA international AJ MacGinty is named on the bench and will be aiming to make his Pro12 and Connacht debut whenever Pat Lam opts to call starting 10 Jack Carty ashore.-

Pat Lam will hope to see his players enjoy the home comforts of Galway before the European season begins. For Connacht, it starts with the long, long haul trip for a Challenge Cup opener in Krasnoyarsk against Enisei.

The western province sit just a point below leaders Scarlets going into the seventh round of fixtures and will be hoping to pull ahead of the Welsh outfit while they play in Dublin.

“This is only game four of the 16-game run so it’s a long way to go and we’re going to need players feeling as fresh as possible each week,” says Lam.

“Robbie will start in the 15 shirt for us where he has a lot of experience from his earlier days at Connacht. Obviously Tiernan has done a great job for us at fullback since the start of the season but his move to wing for this game means we can keep that continuity in our centre partnership for this week.
“We always have tough, physical battles when it comes to Treviso and we’ve always had to work hard against them. They have the ability to pile on the pressure and it’s up to us to counter that by being disciplined to stay in our systems and structures.”

Connacht (v Treviso)

15. Robbie Henshaw
14. Tiernan O’Halloran
13. Bundee Aki
12. Craig Ronaldson
11. Matt Healy
10. Jack Carty
9. John Cooney

1. Denis Buckley
2. Dave Heffernan
3. Nathan White
4. Ultan Dillane
5. Andrew Browne
6. John Muldoon (captain)
7. Nepia Fox-Matamua
8. Eoin McKeon


16. Tom McCartney
17. Finlay Bealham
18. Rodney Ah You
19. Aly Muldowney
20. Eoghan Masterson
21. Kieran Marmion
22. AJ MacGinty
23. Darragh Leader

Meanwhile, the Connacht Eagles will have Jason Harris-Wright and Ronan Loughney leading from the front row for tonight’s meeting with Leinster A in Donnybrook (17.00).

The pack is not short on power with captain George Naoupu and Sean O’Brien in the back row behind Cian Romaine and Danny Qualter. And the back-line features Rory Parata, who has impressed at Pro12 early this season, Niyi Adeolokun and Ciaran Gaffney.

Connacht Eagles (v Leinster A)

15 Ciaran Gaffney
14 Niyi Adeolokun
13 Rory Parata
12 Peter Robb
11 Ed O’Keeffe
10 Conor McKeon
9 Ian Porter

1 Ronan Loughney
2 Jason Harris-Wright
3 Saba Meunargia
4 Cian Romaine
5 Danny Qualter
6 Sean O’Brien
7 James Connolly
8 George Naoupu (capt)


16 Jack Dinneen
17 Jacob Walshe
18 Conan O’Donnell
19 Peter Claffey
20 Rory Moloney
21 Caolin Blade
22 Aidan Moynihan
23 Cormac Brennan

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Sean Farrell

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