It’s Connacht Rugby v Southern Kings, we preview the match with team news and betting advice, start time is 7:35pm Saturday.
Connacht were fancied to beat an under strength Glasgow Warriors team but looked totally aimless in the first half when they had a gale force breeze and paid for it in the second half when Glasgow scored two tries. Connacht did get a losing bonus point but would have been hoping for more.
Kieran Keane will be delighted its Southern Kings he is facing as they got annihilated in the second half against the Scarlets conceding 57pts in total, so he will surely be expecting his first competitive win as Connacht coach and a bonus point win.
“We have addressed all the things that flew out the window on game day. I think the weather tripped us up a little bit, which is ironic being a Galway team, and we have addressed all those sorts of issues,” he says.
“We didn’t score enough points in that first half. We missed three serious opportunities to score tries, one of which you would argue was scored anyway, so there was never enough points gathered with the wind. We have reflected on that, and the means and mechanisms to make those things happen. On the day, for whatever reasons, we just choked.”
The Kings will be hoping a week in Galway will be a big help for his squad.
“We got here Sunday night, having got stuck in hurling traffic, and it took out another two hours for us, It was awesome to see. We had a pitstop at a dining stop and talked to some of the Galway fans – a good experience. We didn’t have a lot of time to prepare, but the amount of time we did in those two weeks, there was a hunger to learn quickly. It was a little bit too far in Wales, a different style from Super Rugby, but we have adapted well to it and will be ready on Saturday.” said Kings prop Schalk Ferreira
|Tiernan O’Halloran returns to action for Connacht in their Guinness PRO14 clash against South African side the Southern Kings in the Sportsground on Saturday at 7.35pm. O’Halloran is named at full-back in a side that sees three changes from the XV that started the opening round game against Glasgow Warriors.Inside centre Tom Farrell and flanker Sean O’Brien are also included in the starting fifteen with Eoin Griffin and Eoghan Masterson taking their places among the replacements. In a positional switch Darragh Leader moves from full back to the wing as O’Halloran returns.
Commenting ahead of the game, Head Coach Kieran Keane said: “Tiernan returned to full training in the past week and we are very happy with his progress so he starts at full back. The Kings have a good few changes in personnel from their time in Super Rugby but I expect their style of play to remain the same. We are expecting a tough physical game and some exciting rugby on Saturday and our guys are going to have to be ready for that”.
Speaking ahead of the game, Denis Buckley told journalists: “We worked hard on our scrum during the week after the Glasgow game. We are expecting a tough encounter against the Kings and we will be very focused on our processes and decision making on the field. The South Africans are known for playing an exciting brand of rugby and we expect that to be the same on Saturday”.
A limited number of tickets are still available for the game on Saturday with a 15% saving when purchased online.
(15-9) Tiernan O’Halloran, Darragh Leader, Tom Farrell, Bundee Aki, Matt Healy, Jack Carty, Kieran Marmion, (1-8) Denis Buckley, Tom McCartney, Finlay Bealham, Ultan Dillane, James Cannon, Sean O’Brien, Jarrad Butler, John Muldoon
Replacements (16-23): Dave Heffernan, Denis Coulson, Conor Carey, Quinn Roux, Eoghan Masterson, Caolin Blade, Steve Crosbie, Eoin Griffin.
Having spent the week preparing in Galway, Ireland, the Southern Kings have made just one change to their team for tomorrow night’s Guinness PRO14 game with Connacht at the Sportsground.
After the Southern Kings opening-round loss to champions Scarlets, head coach Deon Davids has promoted scrum-half Godlen Masimla to the starting XV with Rudi van Rooyen named on the bench.
The team will be again captained by Michael Willemse while out-half Kurt Coleman, winger Yaw Penxe and No 8 Andisa Ntsila were all prominent in the Round 1 fixture against the Scarlets and have retained their places for the game against Connacht – the 2016 champions.
15 Masixole Banda, 14 Yaw Penxe, 13 Berton Klaasen, 12 Luzuko Vulindlu, 11 Sibusiso Sithole, 10 Kurt Coleman, 9 Godlen Masimla, 8 Andisa Ntsila, 7 Victor Sekekete, 6 Khay Majola, 5 Dries van Schalkwyk, 4 Jurie van Vuuren, 3 Rossouw de Klerk, 2 Michael Willemse (captain), 1 Schalk Ferreira.
Replacements: 16 Stephan Coetzee, 17 Luvuyo Pupuma, 18 Martin Dreyer / Entienne Swanepoel, 19 Bobby de Wee, 20 Siyabulela Mdaka, 21 Rudi van Rooyen, 22 Oliver Zono, 23 Jacques Nel.