Connacht head coach Pat Lam has made five changes to his starting XV to face Zebre in Italy tomorrow afternoon (kick-off 2.30pm). 

With Irish internationals Tiernan O’Halloran and Kieran Marmion on a scheduled rest week, there are enforced changes to the back line.

Ireland 7’s player Josh Rowland comes in for his first Connacht start at full-back, having made his debut from the bench against Glasgow Warriors last weekend. John Cooney starts at scrumhalf while Danie Poolman comes on to the right wing.

There is a new midfield partnership as Tom Farrell comes in to start at outside centre, while Bundee Aki shifts to number 12 this week.


Up front, there is just one change with Eoin McKeon coming in for Jake Heenan who struggled to shake off a minor shin injury picked up in the last round.

Ivan Soroka, Eoghan Masterson, Caolin Blade and Eoin Griffin are all additions to the bench with Griffin in line to make his first appearance since September 2016.

Ronan Loughney, Niyi Adeolokun, and JP Cooney all picked up minor injuries in training during the week ruling them out of selection. Naulia Dawai is unable to travel to Italy while awaiting a VISA renewal.

“We have had to make a few changes this week due to unfortunate niggles picked up in training," said Lam.

"But we’re going over to Parma with a clear game plan. We are fully focused on putting in a performance against Zebre that will get us the points on offer.”

Connacht: Josh Rowland; Danie Poolman, Tom Farrell, Bundee Aki, Stacey Ili; Jack Carty, John Cooney; Denis Buckley, Tom McCartney, Finlay Bealham; Quinn Roux, Andrew Browne; Sean O’Brien, Eoin McKeon, John Muldoon (captain).

Replacements:Dave Heffernan, Ivan Soroka, Dominic Robertson-McCoy, James Cannon, Eoghan Masterson, Caolin Blade, Craig Ronaldson, Eoin Griffin.