New signing Leva Fifita is set to make his Connacht debut in tomorrow's United Rugby Championship meeting with the Vodacom Bulls at the Sportsground.

The Tonga international second row, who joined from French side Grenoble, is named on the bench having missed last week's URC defeat to Cardiff with a finger injury.

Head coach Andy Friend has made three changes to his starting side from last week's defeat to Cardiff.

They all come in the pack, with Abraham Papali'i arriving into the back row to provide some power at number eight.

The New Zealander takes the place of Conor Oliver, who drops to the bench, while captain Jarrad Butler shifts across to blindside flanker.

Jordan Duggan and Dave Heffernan are brought into the front row to partner tighthead Finlay Bealham.

The pair swap places with Matthew Burke and Shane Delahunt respectively, who both drop to the bench.

The backline is unchanged, with new Australian signing Mack Hansen retaining his place on the left wing despite his yellow card versus Cardiff in round one.

Connacht have gone with a 6:2 split on the bench, with Ireland international Paul Boyle joining Oliver, Fifita and backline sub Sammy Arnold in a hugely physical set of replacements.

Head coach Friend says both his side and the Bulls will have a point to prove tomorrow night, following frustrating results last week.

"Last week's result was disappointing but we as a coaching group saw enough to firmly believe we're on the right track," he said.

"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."


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, Abraham Papali'i

Replacements: Shane Delahunt, Matthew Burke, Jack Aungier, Leva Fifita, Conor Oliver, Caolin Blade, Paul Boyle, Sammy Arnold

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