The teams for Friday night's Round 2 fixtures of the United Rugby Championship have been named with all details of match officials and broadcast information below.
TEAM NEWS HEADLINES
- Papali’i and Fifita brought into Connacht's match day 23.
- Ruan Combrinck will earn his first start for the Bulls after making his debut off the bench during the domestic Currie Cup. Lizo Gqoboka, Joe van Zyl and Stravino Jacobs return to the starting lineup.
- Wales international Tom Rogers to start on the right wing. Sam Costelow comes in at fly-half. First URC start for Will Griff John.
- Lions go into Scarlets clash unchanged. Springboks Jaco Kriel, Ruan Dreyer and Jamba Ulengo all feature in the Lions starting XV.
Friday, 1st October
Connacht v Bulls
The Sportsground, Galway – KO 19.35 IRE & UK / 20.35 ITA & SA
Referee: Ben Blain (SRU, 11th league game)
AR 1: Paul Haycock (IRFU), AR 2: Andrew Cole (IRFU),
TMO: Andrew McMenemy (IRFU)
Live on: TG4, SuperSport & Premier Sports
Connacht: Tiernan O’Halloran, John Porch, Tom Farrell, Tom Daly, Mack Hansen, Jack Carty, Kieran Marmion; Jordan Duggan, Dave Heffernan, Finlay Bealham, Oisin Dowling, Ultan Dillane, Cian Prendergast, Jarrad Butler (CAPT), Abraham Papali’i.
Replacements: Shane Delahunt, Matthew Burke, Jack Aungier, Leva Fifita, Conor Oliver, Caolin Blade, Paul Boyle, Sammy Arnold.
Bulls: Ruan Combrinck, Cornal Hendricks, Lionel Mapoe, Harold Vorster, Stravino Jacobs, Johan Goosen, Zak Burger; Lizo Gqoboka, Joe van Zyl, Jacques van Rooyen, Walt Steenkamp, Ruan Nortje, Marcell Coetzee (CAPT), Arno Botha, Elrigh Louw.
Replacements: Bismarck du Plessis, Simphiwe Matanzima, Mornay Smith, Janko Swanepoel, Jacques du Plessis, Embrose Papier, Chris Smith, Stedman Gans.
Connacht Head Coach Andy Friend said: “Last week’s result was disappointing 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.”
Bulls Director of Rugby Jake White said: “We have another tough encounter ahead of us. To face two top Irish sides back-to-back is no easy challenge. Connacht is a strong, well-coached side; and they will be looking to bounce back from their defeat to Cardiff in the opening round. We have also put the defeat to Leinster behind us, and we look forward to testing ourselves, again this week, against another quality outfit in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship.”
Scarlets v Lions
Parc y Scarlets, Llanelli – KO 19.35 IRE & UK / 20.35 ITA & SA
Referee: Andrea Piardi (FIR, 16th league game)
AR 1: Elgan Williams (WRU) AR 2: Tom Spurrier (WRU),
TMO: Stefano Penne (FIR)
Live on: BBC Wales, SuperSport & Premier Sports
Scarlets: Johnny McNicholl, Tom Rogers, Jonathan Davies (CAPT), Scott Williams, Steff Evans; Sam Costelow, Kieran Hardy, Rob Evans, Ryan Elias, WillGriff John, Jac Price, Tom Price, Blade Thomson, Dan Davis, Sione Kalamafoni.
Replacements: Marc Jones, Phil Price, Samson Lee, Morgan Jones, Shaun Evans, Dane Blacker, Dan Jones, Ioan Nicholas.
Lions: EW Viljoen, Jamba Ulengo, Wandisile Simelane, Burger Odendaal (CAPT), Rabz Maxwane, Jordan Hendrikse, Andre Warner, Francke Horn, Vincent Tshituka, Jaco Kriel, Pieter Jansen Van Vuren, Ruben Schoeman, Carlu Sadie, Jaco Visagie, Ruan Dreyer.
Replacements: PJ Botha, Sti Sithole, Asenathi Ntlabakanye, Reinhard Nothnagel, Sibusiso Sangweni, Morne van den Berg, Eddie Fouche, Divan Rossouw.
Scarlets Head Coach Dwayne Peel said: “We are very excited. We have scouted the (Emirates) Lions through the Currie Cup and we took a lot from last week’s game versus Zebre. They were very impressive in the first half and punished Zebre every opportunity they got. The fact the four big South African franchises are in the URC is great for the league and we are looking forward to the challenge on Friday.”
Lions Head Coach Ivan van Rooyen said: "We appreciate that Scarlets will pose a different challenge for us, but we are confident the players selected will once more aim for a positive result tomorrow. The team has prepared well in the lead-up to tomorrow, with a few productive planning sessions on and off the training field. Last week we spoke about momentum and that's what we would like maintain from here onwards,"