Bealham to make 200th appearance in Zebre clash

Bealham to make 200th appearance in Zebre clash

Finlay Bealham will become a double centurion for Connacht in tomorrow’s BKT United Rugby Championship meeting with Zebre at Dexcom Stadium (k/o 7.35pm).  

The Irish international and Six Nations winner becomes the 7th player to reach the milestone for the club, joining his teammates Denis Buckley, Tiernan O’Halloran and Jack Carty, and former players John Muldoon, Michael Swift and Kieran Marmion. 

Meanwhile there’s a first Connacht start for Academy graduate Matthew Devine, who’s named at scrum-half, while his Ballinasloe and Garbally College teammate Shane Jennings lines out at full-back. 

Hooker Dave Heffernan captains the side while Jordan Duggan lines out as loosehead. Locks Niall Murray and Joe Joyce are paired together, while a reshuffled back row sees Shamus Hurley-Langton move to blindside flanker, Conor Oliver coming in at openside and Sean O’Brien starting at number 8. 

JJ Hanrahan continues at out-half, while Tom Farrell comes in to partner Bundee Aki in the centre. In the back three there’s a return to the starting team for John Porch, while Andrew Smith is on the opposite wing. 

Commenting ahead of the game, head coach Pete Wilkins says: 

“Tomorrow marks the first of five crucial games for us to ensure we break back into the top 8 and remain in control of our destiny this season. We’re very clear in what we need from the coming weeks to make the playoffs and we’re confident that we can achieve it. 

It’s a special day for the club, with Finlay earning his 200th cap for Connacht, and Matthew making his first start. Although at different stages of their careers, both are respected and valuable members of the squad, and we are determined to mark their milestones with a strong team performance.” 

19:35, Saturday 20th April 2024 @ Dexcom Stadium  


15. Shane Jennings (10)
14. John Porch (84)
13. Tom Farrell (109)
12. Bundee Aki (134)
11. Andrew Smith (12)
10. JJ Hanrahan (17)
9. Matthew Devine (2)
1. Jordan Duggan (46)
2. Dave Heffernan (195) (C)
3. Finlay Bealham (199)
4. Joe Joyce (16)
5. Niall Murray (72)
6. Shamus Hurley-Langton (36)
7. Conor Oliver (80)
8. Seán O’Brien (7) 

16. Tadgh McElroy (12)
17. Peter Dooley (32)
18. Sam Illo (20)
19. Oisín Dowling (55)
20 .Jarrad Butler (125)
21. Caolin Blade (187)
22. Cathal Forde (26)
23. Paul Boyle (90)

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