Friday, January 21, 2022

FORMER Tullow RFC man Charlie Ward has been named on the Connacht bench for the Heineken Champions Cup pool game away to Stade Francais on Sunday (k/o 1pm Irish time). The former Irish U20 international prop has yet to make his debut for the province but having made the list of replacements, he will now hope to feature at some stage. Tom Daly continues to miss out due to a knee injury.

Charlie Ward could make his Connacht debut on Sunday
Photo: ©INPHO/James Crombie

While qualification to the knockout stages could be secured before kick-off, Andy Friend and his coaches have still selected a strong side who will be looking for their second win of the campaign.

There’s two changes among the forwards from the side that started against Leicester last week, with props Jordan Duggan and Greg McGrath coming into the team. They’re joined in the front row by hooker Shane Delahunt, while Oisin Dowling, Niall Murray, Cian Prendergast, Conor Oliver and Jarrad Butler make up the rest of the pack.

There are four changes in the backs, with Caolin Blade, Mack Hansen, Tom Farrell and Alex Wootton all named in the starting XV. Jack Carty again captains the side from out-half, Sammy Arnold moves from 13 to 12, and full-back Tiernan O’Halloran is retained for his 199th Connacht appearance.

Commenting on the team selection, Head Coach Andy Friend says:

“For us we’re not thinking about results elsewhere. All we’re focused on is going to Paris, take what we learned from last week and hopefully finish our Pool stage on a high. If we can do that then we can celebrate a great achievement of reaching knockout rugby in this competition.

With dry weather and their 4G pitch it’s looking like it’ll be a fast-tempo game, so we’ve selected a side that reflects that.”

Sunday 23rd January, 13:00 Irish time @ Stade Jean-Bouin

Number/Name/Caps ( * denotes uncapped)
15. Tiernan O’Halloran (198)
14. Alex Wootton (26)
13. Tom Farrell (68)
12. Sammy Arnold (27)
11. Mack Hansen (8)
10. Jack Carty (170) (C)
9. Caolin Blade (140)
1. Jordan Duggan (20)
2. Shane Delahunt (111)
3. Greg McGrath (1)
4. Oisín Dowling (15)
5. Niall Murray (25)
6. Cian Prendergast (19)
7. Conor Oliver (31)
8. Jarrad Butler (84)

16. Dave Heffernan (154)
17. Charlie Ward *
18. Sam Illo *
19. Leva Fifita (4)
20. Paul Boyle (64)
21. Colm Reilly (6)
22. Conor Fitzgerald (44)
23. Diarmuid Kilgallen (5)

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