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Marmion returns for Connacht as Friend seeks win in France

The Irish international is back after a two-month absence

Marmion returns from a back injury.
Marmion returns from a back injury.
Image: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

KIERAN MARMION IS back from a back injury. That was the key news in today’s announcement ahead of Sunday’s dead rubber against Montpellier (kick off 3.15pm).

The Irish international scrum-half last played for Connacht in November, when he picked up a knock against Ospreys. Elsewhere, Jack Carty is retained at out-half, while Bundee Aki and Kyle Godwin form the midfield partnership, with the back-three consisting of full-back Tiernan O’Halloran, and wings, John Porch and Matt Healy.

In the pack, Dave Heffernan’s fine week continues as he follows up his Irish call-up with a place in Andy Friend’s starting XV. Paddy McAllister and Dominic Robertson McCoy comprise the remaining spots in the front-row.

Joe Maksymiw and Gavin Thornbury form the second row partnership, while Eoghan Masterson, Colby Fainga’a and Jarrad Butler, the captain, will start in the back row.

We had a great win over Montpellier in the opening round but we are under no illusion that the return leg will be a huge challenge,” said Friend. “We have picked a strong side and are aiming to win the game and regain some momentum ahead of an important block of games coming in the Pro14.

 
“We are delighted to see Kieran Marmion back from injury. He has worked really hard to get back on the field. His experience alongside Jack Carty, will be a boost to us on Sunday.”

A win for Andy Friend’s team would be their third in the campaign and would leave them third in the pool. Should they lose, they could still finish third, providing they deny Montpellier a bonus point and pick up one of their own.

 
Connacht:

Tiernan O’Halloran; John Porch, Kyle Godwin, Bundee Aki, Matt Healy; Jack Carty, Kieran Marmion; Paddy McAllister, Dave Heffernan, Dominic Robertson McCoy; Joe Maksymiw, Gavin Thornbury; Eoghan Masterson, Colby Fainga’a, Jarrad Butler (Capt).

Replacements: Jonny Murphy, Denis Buckley, Conor Kenny, Niall Murray, Eoin McKeon, Caolin Blade, Conor Fitzgerald, Tom Daly.

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