Pro14: Connacht v Glasgow Warriors (Sat)


Jarrad Butler signed for Connacht on a three-year deal after four seasons with the Brumbies
Guinness Pro14: Connacht v Glasgow Warriors
Date: Saturday, 2 September Venue: Sportsground, Galway Kick-off: 19:35 BST
Coverage: Watch on BBC Alba

Connacht have handed a competitive debut to new signing Jarrad Butler in the Pro14 opener against Glasgow.

The New Zealand-born Butler starts at flanker while Bundee Aki returns to the side in a midfield partnership with Eoin Griffin.

New Glasgow Warriors boss Dave Rennie selects Peter Horne at fly-half while Ruaridh Jackson, starting his second spell with the club, is at full-back.

Wing Lelia Masaga and hooker George Turner make first Warriors appearances.

Connacht are aiming to get off to a winning start under their new head coach, Kieran Keane.

Scrum-half Kieran Marmion renews his half-back pairing with Jack Carty.

The team is strengthened by the inclusion of four Irish internationals with Denis Buckley, Finlay Bealham and Ultan Dillane starting in the front five.

John Muldoon captains the side at number eight in his 15th season with his native province.

Keane arrived at Connacht after a spell with the Chiefs as assistant coach to Rennie.

“It’s ironic that we face Dave’s Glasgow side in my first game in charge – they will be playing an open expansive style of rugby as will we,” said Keane.

“There was an incredible atmosphere for our pre-season game at home to Bristol last week and I’m sure the guys will get a massive reception when they take to the field again on Saturday evening.”

Turner played in last season’s Pro12 with Edinburgh

Prop Oli Kebble and fly-half Adam Hastings are potential Glasgow debutants off the bench.

Rennie is without Scotland internationals Stuart Hogg and Finn Russell, who both toured with the British and Irish Lions this summer. Fijian scrum-half Niko Matawalu, who has returned to Warriors, is not involved in the squad.

Centre Alex Dunbar makes his 100th Glasgow appearance.

“There are different people at Glasgow, there are different coaches at Connacht and with pre-season games you can’t really tell how they’re going to go,” said Warriors assistant coach Jonathan Humphreys.

“Ruaridh played really well against the Dragons [in last week’s 40-23 friendly win]. We were all really impressed with him. It’s great to have him back – he’s played over 100 times for the club and it’s as if he’s never been away.

“Reaching 100 caps will mean a lot to Alex Dunbar, he says it’s been a long time coming. It’s a special group, those 100-cap guys, so it’ll be a proud moment for him tomorrow night.”

Connacht: D Leader, C Kelleher, E Griffin, B Aki, M Healy, J Carty, K Marmion, D Buckley, T McCartney, F Bealham, U Dillane, J Cannon, E Masterson, J Butler, J Muldoon.

Replacements: Shane Delahunt, Peter McCabe, Conor Carey, Sean O’Brien, Eoin McKeon, Conor McKeon, Craig Ronaldson, Tom Farrell.

Glasgow Warriors: R Jackson, L Masaga, A Dunbar, S Johnson, L Jones, P Horne, A Price; J Bhatti, G Turner, Z Fagerson, T Swinson, S Cummings, R Wilson (capt), M Smith, A Ashe.

Replacements: J Malcolm, O Kebble, A Nicol, G Peterson, M Fagerson, H Pyrgos, A Hastings, L Sarto.

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