Connacht squad named for Challenge Cup meeting with Benetton

Connacht squad named for Challenge Cup meeting with Benetton

Pete Wilkins has named his side for Sunday's EPCR Challenge Cup quarter-final against Benetton in Treviso.

There are four changes from the side that beat Pau last week - with three of them due to injuries since that game. Andrew Smith comes in on the wing instead of Shayne Bolton, while JJ Hanrahan will start at out-half to replace Jack Carty who misses out with a hamstring strain. Caolin Blade will captain the side from scrum half.

Smith is joined in the back three by Shane Jennings and Tiernan O'Halloran at full back.

The centre partnership remains unchanged with Bundee Aki and David Hawkshaw.

There are two changes in the forwards, with Darragh Murray and Paul Boyle coming in for Niall Murray and Jarrad Butler who is undergoing graduated return to play protocols.

Murray will be alongside Joe Joyce, and Boyle joins Cian Prendergast and Shamus Hurley-Langton in the back row.

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

“Any knockout game is special, but for us to be returning to Treviso after such a close result two weeks ago in the URC only adds to the interest and excitement around this fixture.

I was very proud of the physical and emotional intensity we brought to the last 16 game in Pau last weekend, and some of the rugby we played was outstanding, but we will need to be better again to back it up against a Benetton team full of experience and international quality.

Our players and staff are all aware of the significance of this game and what a positive result would mean to the province, not to mention our incredible supporters, many of whom have joined us on the journeys to Italy and France over recent weeks. It will be another great challenge this weekend and as ever their support will play a massive part as we strive to reach the last four of the Challenge Cup.”

12:30 Irish time, Sunday 14th April 2024 @ Stadio Comunale di Mongio  


15. Tiernan O’Halloran (234)
14. Andrew Smith (11)
13. David Hawkshaw (27)
12. Bundee Aki (133)
11. Shane Jennings (9)
10. JJ Hanrahan (16)
9. Caolin Blade (186) (C)
1. Denis Buckley (245)
2. Dave Heffernan (194)
3. Finlay Bealham (198)
4. Joe Joyce (15)
5. Darragh Murray (22)
6. Cian Prendergast (64)
7. Shamus Hurley-Langton (35)
8. Paul Boyle (89)

16. Eoin de Buitléar (6)
17. Peter Dooley (31)
18. Sam Illo (19)
19. Niall Murray (71)
20. Conor Oliver (79)
21. Matthew Devine (1)
22. Cathal Forde (25)
23. Tom Farrell (108)

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