Aussie out-half forms new half-back pairing with Marmion for Connacht

CONNACHT HAVE BEEN boosted by the availability of Kieran Marmion for Saturday’s Guinness Pro14 encounter against the Dragons, with the Ireland scrum-half set to form a new half-back pairing with David Horwitz.

Marmion — not involved in Chicago this weekend — has been released to play for the western province by Joe Schmidt in a bid to hone his match sharpness ahead of Ireland’s forthcoming November internationals against Argentina and the All Blacks.

Horwitz starts for Connacht against Dragons. Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

The 26-year-old is named to start in Andy Friend’s XV for tomorrow’s round eight clash at the Sportsground [KO 5.15pm, TG4/Premier Sport], while Horwitz is in line for his first Connacht start.

With Bundee Aki, Quinn Roux and Finlay Bealham all away on international duty in Chicago, Friend is forced into making a number of changes to his side as the province look to bounce back from consecutive defeats.

Kyle Godwin comes into midfield to partner Tom Farrell while Colm De Buitléar is given another chance to impress on the wing, with Cian Kelleher and Tiernan O’Halloran making up the back three. 

In the pack, Conor Carey steps in for Bealham while James Cannon comes into the second row for Roux.

The only other change is in the back row where captain Jarrad Butler starts at number eight with Colby Fainga’a slotting in at openside.

Eoin Griffin will make his 100th appearance for the province should he come off the bench, while academy player Matthew Burke and summer arrival Joe Maksymiw are both in line for their Pro14 debuts. 

Connacht, sitting fifth in Conference A with three wins from first seven games, suffered a disappointing defeat to Ospreys last weekend and Friend feels his side are well equipped for the challenge of Dragons. 

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“We’ve got to be a team that can adapt,” he said. “If we’re allowed to get the quick ball and play the way we want, we will threaten any side. If we can’t, whether that’s because of our ball carrying not being strong enough, or the ball not coming out because tacklers aren’t being removed, then we need to trust our defensive system.

“Our attack is potent enough if we get the ball we want, but if we can’t we have got to adapt.”

Bernard Jackman, meanwhile, has named experienced hooker Richard Hibbard as captain for the Welsh region’s trip to Galway, while Wales international Hallam Amos is back from injury to start. 


15. Tiernan O’Halloran
14. Cian Kelleher
13. Kyle Godwin
12. Tom Farrell
11. Colm De Buitlear
10. David Horwitz
9. Kieran Marmion

1. Denis Buckley
2. Tom McCartney
3. Conor Carey
4. Ultan Dillane
5. James Cannon
6. Sean O’Brien
7. Colby Fainga’a
8. Jarrad Butler (captain).


16. Shane Delahunt
17. Matthew Burke
18. Conan O’Donnell
19. Joe Maksymiw
20. James Connolly
21. Caolin Blade
22. Jack Carty
23. Eoin Griffin. 


15. Jordan Williams
14. Dafydd Howells
13. Hallam Amos
12. Jarryd Sage
11. Will Talbot-Davies
10. Jason Tovey
9. Rhodri Williams

1. Brok Harris
2. Richard Hibbard (captain)
3. Lloyd Fairbrother
4. Joe Davies
5. Lewis Evans
6. Harrison Keddie
7. Nic Cudd
8. Taine Basham.


16. Rhys Lawrence
17. Aaron Jarvis
18. Dan Suter
19. James Thomas
20. Huw Taylor
21. Tavis Knoyle
22. Jack Dixon
23. Adam Warren. 

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