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Friend names Connacht team for Bulls visit


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Abraham Papali'i is among the three changes made by Connacht head coach Andy Friend ahead of Friday's meeting with The Bulls. 

The powerful number eight is included in the starting team, as are Jordan Duggan and Dave Heffernan.

Matthew Burke, Shane Delahunt and Conor Oliver are the players to drop to the bench.

Amongst the replacements is Leva Fifita, who will make his Connacht debut if introduced.

The westerners will be looking for a response to a disappointing loss to get their United Rugby Championship campaign underway.

They were beaten by the Cardiff Blues, going under by 33 points to 21 in Wales last week.

"Last week’s result was disappointing," head coach Friend said, "but we as a coaching group saw enough to firmly believe we’re on the right track."

"If we can be more clinical at the crucial times I know we’ll be tough to beat whoever we face, so we hope to see more of that tomorrow against a very formidable Bulls outfit.

"Bringing the likes of Papali’i and Fifita into our 23 gives us a lot of physicality, but we’ll need the throw the ball around a lot as well.

"With the Connacht supporters back behind us in full voice I know we can give them something to cheer about.”
South African side The Bulls were outclassed by Leinster last week in a 31-3 defeat at the Aviva Stadium.

They have quality, however, and recently won the Currie Cup with a dominant final display against The Sharks.

CONNACHT RUGBY MATCHDAY 23 VS VODACOM BULLS

Number/Name/Caps (* denotes uncapped)
15. Tiernan O’Halloran (191)
14. John Porch (41)
13. Tom Farrell (63)
12. Tom Daly (50)
11. Mack Hansen (1)
10. Jack Carty (160)
9. Kieran Marmion (188)
1. Jordan Duggan (14)
2. Dave Heffernan (145)
3. Finlay Bealham (160)
4. Oisin Dowling (8)
5. Ultan Dillane (115)
6. Cian Prendergast (11)
7. Jarrad Butler (74) (C)
8. Abraham Papali’i (14)

16. Shane Delahunt (101)
17. Matthew Burke (24)
18. Jack Aungier (14)
19. Leva Fifita *
20. Conor Oliver (21)
21. Caolin Blade (132)
22. Paul Boyle (58)
23. Sammy Arnold (17)


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