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Connacht Update Ahead of Leinster Clash

Connacht have provided an injury update ahead of their PRO14 game with Leinster this weekend and head coach Andy Friend has also had his say on Paddy McAllister’s citing dismissal

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(Photo By John Dickson/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Connacht have been boosted on the injury front but still have less than 30 players to pick from for their game with Leinster at the RDS this Saturday according to head coach Andy Friend.

With Irish duo Bundee Aki and Jack Carty currently on a two-week mandatory lay-off, as well as three players undergoing the return to play protocols for HIA’s and 12 further squad members injured Friend has admitted that they haven’t even been able to put 30 men through training this week. 

“We had 28 today but that was with four academy boys and two other fellas who we have got here training. We are skinny. It’s not ideal but when we travelled to South Africa we travelled with 26 players. Whenever we are under 30 I just say ‘imagine we’re in South Africa’, because we had two wins over there against the Kings and Cheetahs,” he said while speaking to the42. 

However, there is a possibility that prop Paddy McAllister may be involved after his citing for a dangerous tackle during last weekend’s loss to Ulster was dismissed. 

He is currently under return to play procedure for a head injury, but if he comes through he should be able to play and speaking on the decision to dismiss his citing Friend believes it is not only good for Connacht but for the sport. 

“I think it’s brilliant news. I think it’s great for Paddy and for Connacht, but I think it’s actually good for rugby. I totally get that we need to protect the player, but we play a collision sport where accidents do happen. You can’t have two big guys running into each other, trying to hit each other with their heads. There is no future in that. But sometimes you get collisions when that just happens,” he added. 

He went on to defend McAllister and claimed that the player himself was upset over the possibility of people thinking that he had deliberately fouled Marcell Coetzee. 

 “I know Paddy was really remorseful for what happened and I know he spoke to Marcell post-game. He was disappointed that people were thinking that it was a deliberate act because that’s not Paddy McAllister. He’s a hell of a man, a gentleman in his own right. He is not a foul player. He was gutted that people were thinking that was deliberate. But there was a lot of work behind the scenes put in on his behalf,” he finished up. 

Friend will be hoping that McAllister will be available for selection come Saturday as his team take on the current PRO14 Conference A leaders, who have been in rampant form so far this season and can produce results even with a weakened team as they proved last weekend away to Munster.

** EXCLUSIVE DAVID LLOYD OFFER FOR ULSTER RUGBY FANS **

Rugby

Henderson back for Ulster, Aki out for Connacht

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Photo By Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile via Getty Images

The Ulster match-day squad to face Connacht at Aviva Stadium on Saturday sees the return of Iain Henderson, Robert Baloucoune and Stuart McCloskey, with Eric O’Sullivan also coming in to start.

Iain Henderson will lead the Ulster men in his first game for the province this season, and will partner Alan O’Connor in the second row. O’Sullivan is the only change to the starting front row that defeated Emirates Lions last week, with Rob Herring and Tom O’Toole retaining their places at hooker and tighthead. The back row is unchanged as Matty Rea, Nick Timoney and David McCann are all named to start.

The back line sees two changes and two positional switches. Ethan McIlroy moves to full-back and Craig Gilroy shifts to the left wing, with Robert Baloucoune coming in to the right wing. Stuart McCloskey returns to pair up with James Hume in midfield. Nathan Doak and Billy Burns are the starting half-backs for the fourth consecutive game.

Brad Roberts, Andrew Warwick, Ross Kane, Kieran Treadwell and Greg Jones provide the forward reinforcements from the bench, with David Shanahan, Mike Lowry and Ben Moxham named as the back line cover.

Ulster team to play Connacht Rugby, United Rugby Championship Round 5, Saturday 23 October at Aviva Stadium, 5.15pm kick-off, live on TG4 and Premier Sports:

(15-9) Ethan McIlroy, Robert Baloucoune, James Hume, Stuart McCloskey, Craig Gilroy, Billy Burns, Nathan Doak;

(1-8) Eric O’Sullivan, Rob Herring, Tom O’Toole, Alan O’Connor, Iain Henderson (Capt.), Matty Rea, Nick Timoney, David McCann.

Replacements: Brad Roberts, Andrew Warwick, Ross Kane, Kieran Treadwell, Greg Jones, David Shanahan, Mike Lowry, Ben Moxham.

Kieran Marmion, Tom Daly and Eoghan Masterson have come into the Connacht starting XV for tomorrow’s hugely anticipated URC interpro with Ulster at the Aviva Stadium (k/o 5.15pm).
 
Their inclusions are the only changes from the side that put in an impressive performance against Munster last week, with out-half Jack Carty again captaining the side.
 
Daly partners Sammy Arnold in the centre, with Bundee Aki being monitored for a knee injury. He is expected to return to full training next week with the National Team. The back three is again made up of wingers Mack Hansen and John Porch, and full-back Tiernan O’Halloran.
 
The tight five is unchanged – with a front row of Matthew Burke, Dave Heffernan and Finlay Bealham, and locks Niall Murray and Ultan Dillane.
 
Eoghan Masterson is a direct replacement for injury absentee Cian Prendergast on the flank, with Conor Oliver and number 8 Paul Boyle alongside them.
 
The Connacht coaching team have gone back to a 4-3 split on the bench, with Conor Fitzgerald coming back into the matchday squad.
 
Head Coach Andy Friend says:
 
“We’ve been looking forward to tomorrow for a long time. The opportunity to return to the Aviva Stadium, but this time with thousands of Connacht supporters behind us, is something we’re all incredibly excited about. The importance of this fixture is not lost on us either. So far this season the performances have been good but the results haven’t matched up to that, so now we have to give absolutely everything to make sure we end this block of fixtures on a winning note.”
 
CONNACHT RUGBY MATCHDAY 23 VS ULSTER RUGBY
Saturday 23rd October, Aviva Stadium @ 17:15

Number/Name/Caps
15. Tiernan O’Halloran (194)
14. John Porch (43)
13. Sammy Arnold (20)
12. Tom Daly (52)
11. Mack Hansen (4)
10. Jack Carty (163) (C)
9. Kieran Marmion (190)
1. Matthew Burke (27)
2. Dave Heffernan (148)
3. Finlay Bealham (163)
4. Niall Murray (20)
5. Ultan Dillane (118)
6. Eoghan Masterson (112)
7. Conor Oliver (24)
8. Paul Boyle (61)

16. Shane Delahunt (104)
17. Jordan Duggan (16)
18. Jack Aungier (17)
19. Oisín Dowling (10)
20. Jarrad Butler (77)
21. Caolin Blade (134)
22. Conor Fitzgerald (38)
23. Diarmuid Kilgallen (2)

** EXCLUSIVE DAVID LLOYD OFFER FOR ULSTER RUGBY FANS **

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Rugby

Australia name strong team for Japan clash

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Andrew Phan (Rugby Australia)

Queensland Red Hunter Paisami has been named to replace the injured Samu Kerevi at inside centre for the Wallabies Test against Japan in Oita on Saturday afternoon local time.

Kerevi failed to overcome the ankle injury he picked up in the side’s win over Argentina in the final eToro Rugby Championship match last month.

Paisami is one of four changes to the starting XV with Matt Philip returning to the second row, his Rebels teammate Rob Leota recalled at blindside flanker and Tom Wright named on the wing.

The front row remains unchanged for the fourth consecutive week with Brumbies teammates James Slipper and Folau Fainga’a joined by the damaging Taniela Tupou.  Slipper set to surpass former teammates Will Genia and Sekope Kepu and join George Smith when he runs on for his 111th Test for Australia.

Philip will reignite his combination with Western Force recruit Izack Rodda in the second row, with Leota joined by skipper Michael Hooper and no.8 Rob Valetini in the loose forwards.

In-form Nic White will again wear the number nine jersey, partnering the Japan-based Quade Cooper in the halves, while youngsters Paisami and Len Ikitau will combine in the midfield for just the third time in their early Test careers.

After a strong performance off the pine, Wright has forced his way back into a starting spot in the back three alongside Andrew Kellaway, who is having a breakout debut International season and Reece Hodge, who will line up at fullback for the third straight week.

Brumbies hooker Connal McInerney is set to become Wallaby no. 947, named as a potential debutant on the bench with his club captain Allan Alaalatoa returning to the matchday squad alongside Angus Bell as the reserve props.

Darcy Swain rotates to the pine as the second row replacement with the explosive Pete Samu set to cover the backrow in the Wallabies first Test against the Brave Blossoms since 2017.

Tate McDermott returns as the reserve halfback with his Reds teammates James O’Connor and Jordan Petaia the remaining backline cover, the latter having made his Wallabies debut in Oita during the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

Wallabies coach Dave Rennie said: “While it’s disappointing for Samu not to be able to play in Japan, Hunter started the first five Tests this year prior to the birth of his daughter and is chomping at the bit for another opportunity.”

“Connal’s strong set piece and all-around game has earned him a chance to represent his country, which is a proud moment for him and his family.

“We’ve got a huge amount of respect for the Brave Blossoms who are now competitive with the best sides in the world.

“We’ll need to be at our best.”

The Test against Japan will be ad-free, live and on-demand with extended coverage on Stan Sport. 

Wallabies team to play Japan Oita Stadium, Japan on Saturday 23 October, 1:45pm JST/3:45pm AEDT
1. James Slipper (110 Tests)
2. Folau Fainga’a (21 Tests)
3. Taniela Tupou (35 Tests)
4. Izack Rodda (30 Tests)
5. Matt Philip (19 Tests)
6. Rob Leota (2 Tests)
7. Michael Hooper (c) (115 Tests)
8. Rob Valetini (14 Tests)
9. Nic White (43 Tests)
10. Quade Cooper (74 Tests)
11. Andrew Kellaway (9 Tests)
12. Hunter Paisami (11 Tests)
13. Len Ikitau (9 Tests)
14. Tom Wright (6 Tests)
15. Reece Hodge (53 Tests)
Replacements
16. Connal McInerney*
17. Angus Bell (12 Tests)
18. Allan Alaalatoa (50 Tests)
19. Darcy Swain (9 Tests)
20. Pete Samu (15 Tests)
21. Tate McDermott (11 Tests)
22. James O’Connor (57 Tests)
23. Jordan Petaia (14 Tests)

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International

Barbarians announce coaching ticket

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Image Credit: Simon Smith - Barbarians Rugby

YAPP AND TAYLOR REUNITE FOR BARBARIAN WOMEN v SPRINGBOK WOMEN’S XV

With just under two months to go until the historic Killik Cup Double Header, Barbarian FC are thrilled to announce leading coaches Jo Yapp and Rachel Taylor will join forces again as Barbarian Women prepare to face Springbok Women’s XV.

Yapp and Taylor reprise their coaching roles with Barbarian Women following the team’s win over Wales in their last fixture in November 2019.

Yapp brings with her a wealth of coaching and playing knowledge after an international playing career, making 70 appearances for England including three successive Women’s Rugby World Cups between 1998 and 2006, in which she captained the side.  

She began her coaching career with the University of Exeter and also counts England Women U20s amongst her experience. She joined her former club, Worcester Warriors Women, as skills coach in 2019 before being promoted to Director of Rugby of the Allianz Premier 15s side in the same year.

Former Wales captain Taylor brings similar experience, moving from national skills coach with the Wales women’s team to join Sale Sharks ahead of the new Allianz Premier 15s season as women’s performance coach.

Looking ahead to the November fixture against Springbok Women’s XV, Yapp said: “It is such a privilege to coach the Barbarians again. I really enjoyed the experience last time, to coach such talented players alongside Rachel Taylor was a real honour.

“South Africa are an extremely proud rugby nation. Under the guidance of Lynne Cantwell, the new high performance manager, I am sure they will continue to go from strength to strength. I know they will be a challenging opposition and it will be an exciting contest.”

Barbarian FC President John Spencer commented: “We are thrilled to welcome Jo and Rachel back to coach Barbarian Women this November. It will be an historic day as the Barbarians host our first-ever double header as the home team at Twickenham and I know the Barbarians’ trademark style of passion, skill and flair will be out in full force as the men’s team take on Samoa and the women play Springbok Women’s XV.”

The dynamic duo formed an impressive alliance alongside Barbarian’s Women’s Team Coordinator Fiona Stockley to bring together a team of international stars in November 2019, going on to beat Wales 29-15 at the Principality Stadium.

Stockley added: “It’s wonderful to reunite Jo and Tayls. Meeting for the first time when we brought them together for our match against Wales last November, they formed an incredible coaching team and established a thoroughly professional – and enjoyable – Barbarian camp. I’m very much looking forward to working with them to create another squad of exciting international names to play Springbok Women’s XV at Twickenham.

“It’s going to be a brilliant day out for sports fans with some star quality rugby on show.”

The historic double header at Twickenham will offer up a day of high-octane international rugby, with stars from around the globe representing both the men and women’s teams.  Barbarian Women will take on Springbok Women’s XV following the men’s match at 5.15pm.

The ticket prices includes both matches and are selling fast. A big crowd is expected so secure your seats early and be part of the action from £35 for adults and £15 for children (booking fees apply) at www.ticketmaster.co.uk/barbarians. Hospitality packages are available to purchase from £119 per person via www.twickenhamstadium.com

Match information

The Killik Cup Double Header- Twickenham Stadium

Saturday 27th November 2021

Barbarians v Samoa – 2.30pm K.O.

Barbarian Women v Springbok Women’s XV – 5.15pm K.O.

(Matches are subject to licences being granted by the London Borough of Richmond-upon-Thames)

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