Highlights on Off The Ball

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Highlights on Off The Ball


Carty and Aki back for Connacht as they prepare to host Leinster

Connacht have welcomed back Irish internationals Jack Carty and Bundee Aki for their Guinness PRO...

Connacht have welcomed back Irish internationals Jack Carty and Bundee Aki for their Guinness PRO14 clash with champions Leinster tomorrow night.

Carty starts at out-half with centre Aki on the bench for the match at the Sportsground.

Caolin Blade joins Athlone man Carty in the half-backs with Tom Farrell selected to partner Peter Robb in midfield.

Darragh Leaders is retained at full-back with Stephen Fitzgerald and Niyi Adeolokun.

Tom McCartney gets the nod to start at hooker with Finlay Bealham and Denis Buckley the props.

Cillian Gallagher comes in for his first start of the season alongside Joe Maksymiw in the second-row.

Jarrad Butler skippers the side from the back-row alongside Paul Boyle and Eoghan Masterson.

“We are happy with the start we have made in the PRO14 with four wins in a row," said the westerners coach Andy Friend ahead of their first inter-pro game of the season.

"What is even more satisfying is the depth we have already displayed, with 35 players already used in the opening five games. With Jack Carty, Bundee Aki and Sean O’Brien all coming back in this week, that number will hopefully go to 38”.

“We obviously face another huge challenge this weekend against Leinster but our challenge is to just maintain the consistency we have seen over the past few weeks both at home and away. We take huge pride in our home record, with just one loss in thirteen games and we expect a massive crowd again on Friday night."

Leinster head-coach Leo Cullen has also revealed his starting 15, bringing Cian Healy and Andrew Porter into their front-row.

Robbie Henshaw starts in midfield for the Blues against his home province while Luke McGrath is paired with Ross Byrne in the half-backs.

Connacht team: Darragh Leader, Niyi Adeolokun, Tom Farrell, Peter Robb, Stephen Fitzgerald, Jack Carty, Caolin Blade; Denis Buckley, Tom McCartney, Finlay Bealham, Cillian Gallagher, Joe Maksymiw, Eoghan Masterson, Jarrad Butler, Paul Boyle.

Replacements: Dave Heffernan, Matthew Burke, Dominic Robertson-McCoy, Sean O'Brien, Colby Fainga’a, Kieran Marmion, Bundee Aki, Kyle Godwin.

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