Buccaneers duo set to make first Connacht starts

Buccaneers players Colm Reilly and Conor Kenny have been handed their first Connacht starts for the PRO14 clash against Scarlets at The Sportsground tomorrow (Saturday, kick-off 7.35pm).

Ballinasloe native Reilly (pictured above) made his debut off the bench in Connacht’s last outing – a bonus point win in Edinburgh – and he’s now been handed the number 9 jersey for the first time. He will be partnered by Athlone native Jack Carty, who has been selected at out-half.

Meanwhile, Kenny has made seven appearances as a replacement since making his debut at the start of last season. The tighthead prop starts for the first time alongside Shane Delahunt and Paddy McAllister, who also enjoys his first start of the campaign.

Kenny is another product of the Connacht grassroots system, having played for Buccaneers RFC and Garbally College where he won a Connacht Schools Senior Cup.

Ultan Dillane returns from the Ireland camp to start in the second row alongside Gavin Thornbury, while the back row is unchanged from the Edinburgh win, with Jarrad Butler captaining the side from openside flanker.

The centres consist of Tom Daly and Sammy Arnold, while in the back three the in-form duo of winger Alex Wootton and full-back John Porch keep their place in the side. Connacht’s record try-scorer Matt Healy makes his first start of the season on the opposite wing.

Kieran Marmion has been released from international duty to be named among the replacements.

Commenting ahead of the game, Connacht head coach Andy Friend said: “While having two postponed games was disappointing, we’ve made sure to take a positive approach to the situation. We’ve had a great few weeks training and it’s given some players the opportunity to reach full fitness again. It’s also our first home game in six weeks so we’re looking forward to that.”

Regarding his team selection, Friend added: “In Conor and Colm we have two more Academy graduates making their first starts which is a real positive for us as a club. We’ve also got plenty of experience available to us again since the Edinburgh game, like Jack Carty, Ultan Dillane, Kieran Marmion and Matt Healy. So we’re in a healthy spot overall and we can’t wait to get back playing.”

Connacht match-day squad v Scarlets

15. John Porch

14. Alex Wootton

13. Sammy Arnold

12. Tom Daly

11. Matt Healy

10. Jack Carty

9. Colm Reilly

1. Paddy McAllister

2. Shane Delahunt

3. Conor Kenny

4. Ultan Dillane

5. Gavin Thornbury

6. Paul Boyle

7. Jarrad Butler (captain)

8. Abraham Papali’i

Replacements

16. Jonny Murphy

17. Denis Buckley

18. Jack Aungier

19. Eoghan Masterson

20. Conor Oliver

21. Kieran Marmion

22. Tom Farrell

23. Peter Sullivan

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