HomeRugbyUnited Rugby Championship: Connacht v Ospreys (Fri)

United Rugby Championship: Connacht v Ospreys (Fri)

Rhys Davies was part of two Welsh squads but has just received his first international
Venue: Sports field, Galway Date: Friday November 26th Time: 19:35 GMT
Cover: Report and highlights on BBC Sport website and app. Live on S4C, highlights on Scrum V, BBC Two Wales and online, Sunday, November 28th from 6:15 pm and later on request

Ospreys will not be using most of their returning Welsh internationals on the URC trip to Connacht on Friday.

Uncapped Lock Rhys Davies joins the strikers while Prop Gareth Thomas is one of the substitutes.

Gareth Anscombe, Alex Cuthbert and Tomas Francis are absent while Adam Beard is injured with a facial injury against Australia.

Outside the center, Shayne Bolton will make his Connacht debut on a home team that has made four changes.

Alex Wootton makes his first appearance of the season on the wing while Oran McNulty gets his first Connacht start as a full-back.

The other Irish team change is in the back row, where Jarrad Butler starts as a blindside flanker.

Guests in Galway are led by Welsh scrum half Rhys Webb who works with fly half Stephen Myler.

Alun Wyn Jones, Justin Tipuric, George North, Dan Lydiate and Dewi Lake remain on the Ospreys long-term injury list.

The URC is returning after a five-week hiatus and Ospreys is aiming to build on four out of five wins in the first game block.

“We know it’s just about comparing ourselves to the Irish provinces and this is an opportunity to do that,” said Ospreys head coach Toby Booth.

“We went there and won in the sunshine and competed in the Rainbow Cup there and lost. From that perspective we know how competitive Connacht is, they are a very good team and they are well trained. Andy Friend, the Connacht trainer, is someone I know well.

“They’re especially tough at home, they play with a really passionate crowd behind them and it can be a pretty intimidating place because of the location of the stadium.

“We know we need to be really good at the basics, especially, and that brings you into play. When you’re not at home, that’s the entry point to putting pressure on.”

Connacht has won three of their last four home games but was beaten 26:20 by the Ospreys at that location in January.

Connacht: Oran McNulty; Alex Wootton, Shayne Bolton, Sammy Arnold, Mack Hansen; Jack Carty (captain), Kieran Marmion; Matthew Burke, Dave Heffernan, Finlay Bealham, Niall Murray, Ultan Dillane, Jarrad Butler, Conor Oliver, Paul Boyle.

Substitute: Shane Delahunt, Jordan Duggan, Jack Aungier, Oisín Dowling, Eoghan Masterson, Caolin Blade, Conor Fitzgerald, Peter Robb.

Osprey: Dan Evans; Max Nagy, Owen Watkin, Joe Hawkins, Luke Morgan; Stephen Myler, Rhys Webb (Capt); Nicky Smith, Elvis Taione, Tom Botha, Bradley Davies, Rhys Davies, Sam Cross, Jac Morgan, Ethan Roots.

Substitute: Sam Parry, Gareth Thomas, Rhys Henry, Will Griffiths, Morgan Morris, Reuben Morgan-Williams, Josh Thomas, Cai Evans.

Referee: Ben Blain (SRU)

Assistant Referees: Peter Martin & Dan Carson (IRFU)

TMO: Andrew McMenemy (IRFU).


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