TOM Daly will start for Connacht at centre in tomorrow’s BKT URC opener against Ulster at Kingspan Stadium (k/o 7.35pm).
Daly starts in midfield alongside fellow Tom, Farrell, as they resume a partnership that has worked very well in the past.
Gavin Thornbury will captain Connacht for the first time in his 64th appearance for the province in a squad that includes three debutants and a possible two more off the bench.
Peter Dooley, Josh Murphy and Byron Ralston have all been handed their first Connacht cap, with Shamus Hurley-Langton and David Hawkshaw also potential debutants off the bench.
Dooley is named in a front row with Jack Aungier and hooker Dave Heffernan, while Leva Fifita partners Thornbury in the second row. The pack is completed by flanker Conor Oliver and number 8 Paul Boyle.
Kieran Marmion and Conor Fitzgerald are paired together at 9 and 10. Ralston’s first game will be on the right wing, with John Porch on the opposite wing and Tiernan O’Halloran at full-back.
Commenting on the team announcement, Director of Rugby Andy Friend says:
“We’ve had a very positive pre-season and there’s now a huge sense of excitement among the group. There’s a genuine belief and optimism about what we can achieve in this first block of games, which all starts in Belfast tomorrow night.
Ulster are a quality side and our battles against them are always hard fought. We’re really looking forward going head-to-head with them in what should be a great season opener for us both.”
CONNACHT RUGBY MATCHDAY SQUAD VS ULSTER RUGBY
Saturday 17th September 2022, 19:35 @ Kingspan Stadium
Number/Name/Caps ( * denotes uncapped)
- Tiernan O’Halloran (206)
- Byron Ralston *
- Tom Farrell (79)
- Tom Daly (61)
- John Porch (59)
- Conor Fitzgerald (53)
- Kieran Marmion (209)
- Peter Dooley *
- Dave Heffernan (165)
- Jack Aungier (31)
- Gavin Thornbury (63) (C)
- Leva Fifita (15)
- Josh Murphy *
- Conor Oliver (41)
- Paul Boyle (73)
- Dylan Tierney-Martin (6)
- Denis Buckley (208)
- Sam Illo (2)
- Niall Murray (35)
- Shamus Hurley-Langton *
- Caolin Blade (150)
- David Hawkshaw *
- Oran McNulty (9)