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Kieran Marmion back in starting role as Connacht welcome unbeaten Cheetahs

The international scrum-half has forced Caolin Blade onto the bench for the first time this season.

Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

SCRUM-HALF KIERAN Marmion will play from the start for the first time this season when Connacht host Ruan Pienaar’s Cheetahs at the Sportsground tomorrow (kick-off 17.15, TG4).

The Ireland international has played from the bench in the opening three rounds, but switches places with Caolin Blade for the clash with the South African side who have racked up 15 points from 15.

Marmion, who is reportedly a target of Saracens according to the Irish Independent, partners Conor Fitzgerald at half-back.

Prop Denis Buckley also enters the starting XV for the first time this season, fronting up a strong pack with Tom McCartney, Finlay Bealham, the growing second row partnership of Gavin Thornbury and Quinn Roux and the dynamic back row of Eoghan Masterson, Jarrad Butler and Paul Boyle.

In the absence of the injured Tiernan O’Halloran, Stephen Fitzgerald starts at fullback with Niyi Adeolokun and John Porch completing the back three outside centres Peter Robb and Kyle Godwin.

Darragh Leader returns from injury to take a place among the replacements alongside the powerful Tom Farrell, Cillian Gallagher and Ultan Dillane.

Connacht

15. Stephen Fitzgerald
14. Niyi Adeolokun
13. Kyle Godwin
12. Peter Robb
11. John Porch
10. Conor Fitzgerald
9. Kieran Marmion

1. Denis Buckley
2. Tom McCartney
3. Finlay Bealham
4. Gavin Thornbury
5. Quinn Roux
6. Eoghan Masterson
7. Jarrad Butler (Captain)
8. Paul Boyle

Replacements:

16. Dave Heffernan
17. Matthew Burke
18. Dominic Robertson-McCoy
19. Ultan Dillane
20. Cillian Gallagher
21. Caolin Blade
22. Tom Farrell
23. Darragh Leader

Cheetahs

15. Rhyno Smith
14. Clayton Blommetjies
13. Dries Swanepoel
12. Benhard Janse van Rensburg
11. Anthony Volmink
10. Tian Schoeman
9. Ruan Pienaar (Captain)

1. Ox Nche
2. Joseph Dweba
3. Aranos Coetzee
4. Sintu Manjezi
5. Walt Steenkamp
6. Gerhard Olivier
7. Junior Pokomela
8. Jasper Wiese

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Replacements

16. Wilmar Arnoldi
17. Boan Venter
18. Luan de Bruin
19. JP du Preez
20. Sias Koen
21. Tian Meyer
22. George Whitehead
23. William Small-Smith

On the latest episode of The42 Rugby Weekly, Andy Dunne tells Murray Kinsella and Gavan Casey about where it all went wrong for Joe Schmidt’s Ireland


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